by Benny Benton
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Barton College women's team turned in a solid first half performance but scored just six points in the first nine and a half minutes of the final period in falling to King University, 66-54, Sunday at the Student Center Complex.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-9, 2-3) opened the second half by making just two of their first 13 shots and committing seven turnovers, including one on six straight possessions. Those struggles allowed King (8-4, 3-3) to extend a slim 30-28 halftime advantage into a double-digit cushion.
The Tornado, which shot just 32 percent (9-of-28) in the first period, protected its second-half lead by making 14-of-27 (52 percent).
Senior Chelsea Bowling poured in a career-high seven 3-pointers on nine attempts and scored 23 points to lead King. Freshman Amy Van Deventer collected her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore Whitney Mitchell added 13 points and six steals.
Neither team led by more than four points in the early going until Bowling's third 3-pointer of the first half put the Tornado up seven at 15-8 with 10:05 left.
However, King missed its next six shots and turned the ball over four times, opening the door for a 16-0 run by the Lady Bulldogs that gave BC its largest lead of the game, nine points, at 24-15 with 4:23 to go before intermission. Lea scored seven of her nine first-half points during the spurt. Thomas added five points, and Tatyana Jackson accounted for the final two baskets of the run.
That Barton lead disappeared even more quickly than it had been gained. A 3-pointer by Brittany Stringer immediately cut the King deficit to six, and a Mitchell steal led to a Tia Keitt layup that trimmed the margin to four. A layup by Thomas briefly pushed the BC advantage back to six, but a jumper by King's Alley Sprouse and another 3-pointer by Bowling pulled the Tornado back within one with 2:41 remaining in the half.
King regained the lead at 28-27 with 1:40 to go on Bowling's fifth 3-pointer of the period, and the Tornado took a 30-28 advantage into the locker room.
Mitchell made a layup on King's first possession of the second half, and after three Barton misses and a turnover, Bowling drained yet another trey to push the Tornado lead to seven. The two sides traded baskets before Bowling struck again with her seventh 3-pointer three minutes into the period, extending King's lead to double-digits for the first time, 40-30.
Three more missed shots by Barton led to consecutive baskets by Van Deventer, moving the Tornado lead to 14. King eventually went up by as many as 17 at 50-33 with 13:15 to play.
Still trailing by 15 with just under four minutes to go, Barton used a jumper by Lea, a steal and layup by Lea, and a steal and layup by Tiffany Webster to comprise a 6-0 run that cut the deficit back to single digits at 63-54 with 1:48 remaining. The Lady Bulldogs had two more possessions to try and get even closer, but missed a pair of shots and was forced to foul.
King shot the same percentage, 57.1 percent, from both 3-point range (8-of-14) and the foul line (12-of-21) in the game.
Barton made just 10-of-21 from the line (47 percent) and 4-of-14 from long range (29 percent). The Lady Bulldogs committed four less turnovers than King (19 to 23), but was out-rebounded by eight.
The game was the third straight road contest for the Lady Bulldogs and their 10th game away from home in 12 dates so far this season. Barton will finally get to enjoy a three-game home stand beginning Wednesday when it hosts North Greenville University in a 5:30 p.m. contest at Wilson Gymnasium.