HICKORY, N.C. — Newberry junior Haylee Lepaio jumped two spots in the career scoring record book on Monday evening as she led Newberry with 18 points in a 75-62 loss at Lenoir-Rhyne.
Newberry (14-8, 10-8 SAC) was in for a battle from the opening tip with the Bears (19-4, 14-4 SAC), but appeared to have a slight edge early as the Wolves jumped out to a 6-0 lead off the tip.
Senior Tasia Holdorf netted the first basket of the night, before scoring again two possessions later. Senior Ellie Gleeson capped the 6-0 run with a jumper off an assist from junior Kaitlynn Pacholke.
The Bears began to cut into the Newberry lead as Lenoir-Rhyne pulled within one with 16:35 left in the first half. Newberry rebounded from Lenoir-Rhyne’s comeback and extended its lead back over the six-point mark as junior Zara Pearson hit a back-to-back 3-point shots to put the Wolves up by eight. The lead reached nine as Lepaio hit from the free throw line to give Newberry a 21-12 advantage.
The Wolves’ nine-point lead with 9:26 left in the first, was the largest of the evening for Newberry as Lenoir-Rhyne battled back and pulled within three before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Halftime adjustments for Lenoir-Rhyne pushed the Bears ahead of the Wolves only two minutes into the second period, before the Bears’ lead extended to double digits with 7:05 left in regulation.
Newberry managed to pull within seven with 1:36 remaining, but saw Lenoir-Rhyne put the game away with four straight free throw makes by Danielle Bongiorno to give the Bears a 13-point victory.
With 10 points in the first half Lepaio surpassed Newberry Hall of Famer Peggy Barnes Winder at No. 9 all-time in scoring, before tallying 18 for the entire evening to also pass Barbara Langsford at No. 8 in scoring with 1,294 for her career. Lepaio now is 16 points shy of Tiffany Johnson’s 1,310 career points at No. 7.
Lepaio snagged five rebounds, as did redshirt sophomore Emily Perry to lead the Wolves. Gleeson’s five assists led Newberry, while Perry led the Wolves on defense with two steals.
Pearson finished the night with 14 points and four assists. Pearson’s four assists give the Aussie 223 for her career, leaving her six shy of Chauncey Tims’ 229 career assists at No. 10 in the Newberry record book.
Holdorf rounded out the Wolves’ double-digit scorers with an 11-point performance.
Newberry returns home on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. scheduled tip against the Queens Royals.