by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College women's basketball team scored the opening points on Thursday and wouldn't look back as the Lady Bulldogs led wire-to-wire en route to an 81-40 victory in its Conference Carolinas semifinal matchup against Erskine College.
The Lady Bulldogs (22-8) advance to their first league championship game since 2011-12 when BC made the trip to Gaffney, S.C. to face Limestone College. Barton also snapped a two-game losing streak in the playoffs against Erskine as the Flying Fleet had bested BC in consecutive quarterfinal matchups during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Erskine (8-20) was held to six first-quarter points by BC and shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half.
Barton will face No. 4 seed King University for the 2018 Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Championship on Friday inside Wilson Gymnasium. Tip-off between the Lady Bulldogs and Tornado is scheduled for 7 p.m. This will be the first meeting between the two schools in the league tournament since King joined the conference in 2011-12. King will be playing in its third-straight league championship matchup.
For a second-straight game, junior Kianna Wynn paced the Lady Bulldogs in scoring as the Knightdale, N.C. native tallied 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. Wynn added eight rebounds in the contest to go along with a 5-for-5 performance at the free-throw line. Redshirt senior Alex Kimble dropped 16 points while adding five rebounds for Barton. Senior Karimah Dean notched a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards for BC, while junior Dinah Neal recorded nine points and a game-high five assists. Sophomore Summer Baer went 2-of-3 from downtown and finished with eight points on the night for the Lady Bulldogs.
Christian Brown scored a team-high eight points for the Flying Fleet while adding 10 rebounds for Erskine. Ollie Steadman went 3-of-4 from the field to add seven points off the bench for Erskine, while Dareisha Sowell recorded six points for the Flying Fleet. Megan Davis added five points and two steals, while Alexis Scott notched four points and four boards.
BC would take a 4-0 lead in the opening quarter on consecutive layups from Neal and Kimble and widen the advantage as Kimble drained one of her two treys in the contest to make it 7-0 with 6:49 left to play. Scott ended the run by getting Erskine onto the scoreboard with a layup. Dean gave the Lady Bulldogs their first double-digit lead of the night with 4:09 to play off a layup that made it 12-2.
Dean stayed hot in the first quarter for BC by converting back-to-back layups with just over a minute remaining to up the lead to 17-4. Davis stopped the run and trimmed the deficit for the Flying Fleet to 17-6 before a layup from Wynn put the BC lead back to 13 points. Erskine went just 3-of-16 from the field to start the game, while Barton went 8-of-16.
In the second quarter, BC upped its lead to 26-10 following a layup by Wynn with 7:05 left to play. Steadman finished-off an 8-0 run by the Flying Fleet to trim the BC lead to 26-18 with four minutes left to play in the quarter. A 4:08 scoreless drought on offense for Barton would come to an end as Wynn converted a layup to give the Lady Bulldogs back their double-digit lead. After Erskine trimmed the gap to 30-22, BC got back-to-back buckets from Dean and Baer to take a 34-22 lead into the half.
Barton clicked offensively on all cylinders in the third quarter, using a 9-0 rally to open a 43-22 advantage following a trey by Kimble with 8:37 left in the quarter. Sowell ended the run with a jumper off an assist by Brown. Trailing 47-26, Davis connected of the lone trey of the contest for the Flying Fleet with 5:29 left to play. Kimble would give BC a 51-31 lead after sinking a jumper and starting a 5-0 run.
The Lady Bulldogs carried a 63-35 lead to the fourth quarter after tallying 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the third quarter of play. Erskine used a quick 4-0 run with just over six minutes left to play to cut the deficit to 66-40. Unfortunately, the Flying Fleet would go without a bucket over the final 6:23 of action. Baer started the game-ending 15-0 run for the Lady Bulldogs by sinking a trey to up the lead to 69-40. Redshirt junior Alonna Terrell tallied her first of two buckets in the contest to give BC a 76-40 lead with 3:05 left to play.
Terrell followed with another jumper to make it 79-40 before freshman Tayah Doss made a pair of free-throws to close the scoring in the contest and cap the 81-40 victory for Barton.
Freshman Shanika Peterkin paced Barton with 17 rebounds in the contest as BC held a 57-33 edge in the category. Despite both teams committing 18 turnovers in the contest, the Lady Bulldogs capitalized on miscues by the Flying Fleet to the tune of 20 points. BC also scored 48 points in the paint compared to 26 for Erskine.