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BELMONT — The rampaging Barton College women’s basketball team survived a scramble the last two minutes to escape with a 62-61 thriller against host Belmont Abbey in Wednesday night’s showdown of two of NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas’ top two teams.
Lady Bulldogs senior Alex Kimble radared in a 3-point shot with a minute and 55 seconds remaining to account for the final score and Barton then withstood a pair of Belmont Abbey shots in the remaining time.
With their 15th victory in the last 16 games, the Lady Bulldogs toppled Belmont Abbey from the conference lead. At 13-3 in the conference and 18-6 overall, Barton moved into a second-place tie with Belmont Abbey (13-3, 16-7). The teams trail front-running Limestone (13-2) by a half game.
With Barton behind 61-59, Kimble nailed the 3-point shot off an assist from Dinah Neal.
The Lady Crusaders committed a turnover before Allie Downing missed on a 3-point attempt with 56 seconds showing. Keyanna Spivey rebounded for Belmont Abbey. Twenty-one seconds later, Briana Grier put up a jumper that was blocked by Barton freshman Shanika Peterkin.
Grier rebounded her miss and, after a Barton foul, Belmont Abbey requested a time-out with 14 seconds left. However, the Lady Crusaders failed to get off another shot, committing a turnover with one second left.
Following Kimble’s decisive shot, the Lady Bulldogs committed a turnover with 1:15 to go.
Kimble led Barton with 17 points, while junior Kianna Wynn responded with a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Senior Karimah Dean contributed 12 points.
The only Belmont Abbey player scoring in double figures was Downing with 17 points. She also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Barton posted a 40-33 rebounding margin and committed 16 turnovers as compared to 12 for the Lady Crusaders. Peterkin blocked six shots and Tatyana Jackson notched six assists.
The Lady Bulldogs were outscored 21-12 from 3-point range and, from the floor, connected on 27 of 61 shots for 44.3-percent accuracy. Belmont Abbey finished 23 of 62 for 37 percent.
Belmont Abbey built a 20-12 lead on Downing’s 3-pointer. Barton finally drew even at 32-32 with 3:08 left before halftime on Kimble’s 3-pointer. A layup from Abbey’s Emry Tsitouris resulted in a 36-36 halftime standoff.
The biggest lead the final 10 minutes was three points for Abbey. The score was knotted at 57-57 and 59-59 before Downing’s jumper with 4:45 to go sent the Lady Crusaders out front, 61-59.
Belmont Abbey did not score the rest of the way and one time was enough for Barton.