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ANDERSON, S.C. — It was there for the taking for Barton College in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional women’s basketball tournament.
Instead, the Lady Bulldogs are left to wonder “what if” after their heartbreaking 69-66 overtime loss to top-seeded Anderson University on Friday evening.
The Lady Bulldogs, seeded No. 8, had a two-point lead and the ball with 28 seconds left against Anderson on the Trojans home court. But senior Kianna Wynn missed a pair of free throws, part of six misfires in a row by the Lady Bulldogs, and the Trojans, who had missed five shots on their previous possession, were able to get Alex Mollenhauer to the foul line, where she converted both to tie the score at 60-all.
Barton squandered its last possession with almost 15 seconds left and didn’t get off a shot. In overtime, the Lady Bulldogs led twice, including a 66-65 advantage on Wynn’s putback with 1:41 remaining. But that would be Barton’s last basket.
A layup attempt by Dinah Neal drew contact but no whistle with 16 seconds left and Barton trailing 67-66. After Mollenhauer converted 1-of-2 free-throw attempts, Neal drove the lane as the clock wound down but her shot came off the rim to junior Shanika Peterkin for her 16th rebound. The 6-foot-2 sophomore went back up but her shot rolled off the rim and Anderson’s Taylor Hair came up with the rebound.
Barton, which finished its season 24-6, trailed by as many as six points in the second quarter but cut the margin to 37-36 by halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs led 58-51 on a layup by Wynn with 5:53 to play in the fourth quarter. But Barton wouldn’t score again until Neal’s layup with 41 seconds put them ahead 60-58 after the Trojans scored seven straight points, including a three-point play by Madison Baggett.
Barton shot 31.3 percent in the second half after making 46.9 percent of its field-goal attempts in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs finished 7 of 17 from the foul line compared to Anderson’s 20-of-24 showing.
The Trojans also outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs 56-46.
Wynn finished her Barton career with a game-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds while Peterkin had 21 points and 16 rebounds. Mollenhauer’s 19 points led Anderson (28-2).