by Benny Benton
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – The Barton College women's basketball team stormed back from a 13-point second-half deficit to tie the game with 13 seconds to play, but Elizabeth City State University made two late free throws and BC missed one in dropping a 64-62 decision to the Lady Vikings Tuesday evening.
Tatyana Jackson made the game-tying basket for Barton on a layup after an Alexis Johnson steal. However, the Lady Bulldogs were called for a foul with nine seconds remaining, and ECSU's Chalise Greenwood drained both attempts.
Barton had a chance to tie when Jackson was sent to the line with five seconds left, but the freshman missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, and Arielle Harris came down with the rebound for the Lady Vikings. Harris was immediately fouled and missed both attempts with three ticks left, but Barton was unable to get off a shot attempt before the buzzer.
With the loss, Barton slipped to 2-6 on the season, while Elizabeth City State improved to 3-4.
Sophomore Tiffany Webster paced the Lady Bulldogs with a season-high 17 points and the freshman Johnson recorded her first career double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds. Senior Brianna Thomas also reached double-figures in rebounds with 10, and also chipped in seven points and three steals.
Elizabeth City State's Jadda Jefferies led all scorers in the game with 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, including 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Jefferies also contributed four assists and three steals. Jasmine Nixon produced game-highs of 15 rebounds and four blocks while also chipping in eight points.
The Lady Bulldogs enjoyed a plus-four turnover margin (18 to 22) and plus-three rebound margin (45 to 42), but once again struggled with their offensive touch, shooting just 32 percent from the field in the game (21 of 66), including a 28 percent showing (7 of 25) in the opening half.
Webster was 5-of-6 from the floor (and 6-of-6 from the line) in the game, but the rest of the team was just 16-of-60 (27 percent). Barton fell to 0-6 on the season when shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
For the second straight game, Barton jumped out to a 5-0 lead, only to see the advantage disappear. A 3-pointer by Webster and a layup by Kaila Lea after a steal accounted for those five points, but the Lady Bulldogs had eight turnovers – nearly half their total for the entire game – over the next six minutes to let ECSU move in front.
The Lady Vikings went up by as many as seven on a jumper by Jasmine Boyd with 8:21 left in the half before five straight points by Shadawn Clayton and a pair of free throws by Brianna Thomas pulled Barton back within two. Jefferies scored the game's next four points for ECSU, pushing the lead back to six, and the Lady Vikings took a five-point lead into the locker at halftime, 31-26.
After Barton pulled to within three on a pair of free throws by Johnson four minutes into the second half, the Lady Bulldogs went cold again, making just one of their next nine attempts and turning the ball over twice. The frustration reached its peak when ECSU blocked three straight shots on the same possession and then BC turned the ball over before getting off a fourth attempt.
Elizabeth City State scored 10 straight points over that span of nearly five minutes, taking its biggest lead of the game at 48-35 on a free throw by Jefferies.
Barton trailed by 10 with 8:49 to go when it began its comeback. A jumper by Johnson and four straight points by Webster cut the BC deficit to four at 52-48 with 6:45 left, and a jumper by Lea with 5:08 remaining trimmed the margin to three at 55-52.
The margin was still three at 57-54 when Jefferies drained a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to put the Lady Vikings back up by six, but Barton needed just 16 seconds to score layups by Johnson and Lea and pull within two, 60-58. Jefferies scored to give ECSU a four-point cushion with 39 seconds left, but Webster made two free throws with 27 seconds left and Johnson stole the ball and passed it quickly to Jackson for the game-tying layup with 13 seconds remaining.
However, Barton fouled Greenwood four seconds later. The sophomore had made 2-of-5 from the line in the contest and was a 65 percent free throw shooter for the season, but she sank both attempts to give ECSU its final margin of victory.
The Lady Bulldogs, which played their seventh game away from home in eight contests to start the season Tuesday evening, will finally return to the Dog House on Saturday for a 2 p.m. non-conference matchup with Winston-Salem State University.