Balanced scoring leads Lady Bulldogs over Mount Olive in regular season finale

Senior Brianna Thomas puts up a shot in the Lady Bulldogs 70-56 victory over in-state rival Mount Olive on Tuesday night. | Photo by Dhillon Phillips
Senior Brianna Thomas puts up a shot in the Lady Bulldogs 70-56 victory over in-state rival Mount Olive on Tuesday night. | Photo by Dhillon Phillips

by Cory Guinn

WILSON, N.C. – Five Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures as the Barton College women's basketball team knocked off in-state rival University of Mount Olive 70-56 on Tuesday night in Wilson Gymnasium.

Senior Kaila Lea led the offensive charge for Barton, scoring 16 points, going 4-for-8 from three-point range, in 30 minutes of play.

Fellow senior Brianna Thomas totaled 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while sophomore Shatisha Dukes and freshman Tatyana Jackson posted identical line of 13 points and seven rebounds each. Sophomore Tiffany Webster rounded out the double-digit scorers for Barton with 10 points of her own.

The Lady Bulldog defense also played a major role in the victory, holding the Trojans to 35.6 shooting from the floor and forcing 25 turnovers. Barton turned those miscues into 24 points, including 17 in the first of action.

From the opening tip, Barton (14-15, 13-9) scored the game's first five points on a jumper and three-pointer from Lea before the Trojan scored their first basket of the game with 17:42 to play in the first half.

Barton's early run continued, stretching to as large as 21-7 after a two three-pointers from Thomas and a basket by Dukes in the paint. The Lady Bulldogs held on to the lead despite a mid-half run from Mount Olive to take a 35-29 lead into intermission.

The lead for Barton would again grow to as large as a 14-point advantage just five minutes into the second half of play before Mount Olive (12-16, 10-12) got within single digits after five unanswered points from sophomore Martha Mastin. A three-pointer from Lea, her fourth of the game, gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 54-38 with 10:25 to play.

A double-digit lead continued to show on the scoreboard until the Trojans used an 8-0 run over a 3:28 stretch to get with six points of the Lady Bulldogs. However, Barton closed the game on a 12-4 run, hitting 10-of-12 free throws in the final 1:21 of the game to seal the 14-piont victory.

With the victory, Barton moved into a tie for fifth place in the conference standings with provisional member Emmanuel College. Because the Lions are ineligible for postseason play, the Lady Bulldogs will travel to Due West, S.C. on Saturday, February 28 for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Flying Fleet in the first round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament.