WINGATE, N.C. — Newberry traveled to face nationally ranked Wingate to serve as the Bulldogs’ first South Atlantic Conference game of the 2017 season.
The Wolves held the lead for the majority of the game, but faded in the final period, dropping to the No. 14 Bulldogs 53-48.
Newberry (5-3, 1-1 SAC) played their brand of basketball and didn’t succumb to the defensive pressures from the Bulldogs. The Wolves led for almost 33 minutes and owned three periods. They outscored the Bulldogs over those several periods 35-34, with the biggest discrepancy coming in the opening period as Newberry notched 15 points to Wingate’s nine.
In the final period, Wingate (5-1, 1-0 SAC) capitalized on the foul trouble Courtney Lyons and Meg Essex were in and began to build their lead at the free throw line. The Bulldogs realized the matchup between Marta Miscenko and Essex leaned in their favor, so they began to feed Miscenko on the low block. This forced an already frustrated Essex to reevaluate her defense. Both teams struggled at the free throw line with the Bulldogs concluding the game shooting 45.5% from the charity stripe, but missing several consecutive towards the end of the game.
The Wolves continued their trend of sharing the basketball, getting everyone involved in the play. They tallied 11 assists on the night while pulling down 40 rebounds. Several Wolves who are normally considered role players, stepped in to contribute.
Kelsey McDermott led Newberry with 11 points, three assists, a rebound, and shot 50% from the free throw line. Essex and Shelby Britten added nine points to the rally while Regan McCarty and Georgia Elliott-King posted six points.
Hannah Lepaio knocked down a three-pointer and tied McCarty at 10 rebounds on the night. Samara Hill notched four points, an assist, two rebounds, and made half of her free throws. The bench for the Wolves stepped up in a big way adding 13 points.
Caroline Averette and Danasia Witherspoon led the push for Wingate, scoring in double digits and grabbing 10 rebounds respectively. The Bulldogs were on a 14-3 run at the conclusion of the game.
The Wolves had a strong showing against this top-tier team only allowing Wingate to lead for four minutes. The game only tie of the game lasted for three minutes. This matchup saw the score tie four times and the lead change five times.
“I thought we were the better team and I am proud of the effort we displayed tonight, but you can’t win close games especially on the road against very good teams when you go 6-18 from the foul line. That’s a problem we need to fix if we are going to win games in this conference,” Head Coach Sean Page said.