HICKORY, N.C. — In a redemption match for the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears, the Wolves emerged victorious taking the season series with a final score of 49-43.
Wednesday’s contest mimicked the game on Nov. 21 when Newberry hosted Lenoir-Rhyne to open conference play and won 61-54. Low scoring and heightened defense were the highlights of tonight’s sequel, but that didn’t stop the Wolves.
Newberry held Lenoir-Rhyne to nine points over the opening two periods. Before going into halftime, a Bears’ turnover at the 3:43 mark led to an 8-0 run for the Wolves. A Meg Essex layup seemed to crescendo the sense of urgency for Newberry to maintain the lead. Regan McCarty and Shelby Britten helped close the run with shots from behind the arc to hold a 20-18 lead.
Both teams amped up their offensive presence in the third period as the lead changed twice. Newberry had success in the painted area since previously made three-pointers stretched the defense thin. Britten sealed the game for the Wolves at the 4:22 mark on three-point play, getting the layup and free throw to fall.
In the closing period, Newberry maintained the lead even through hot shooting from Lenoir-Rhyne. Some late three-point shots from McCarty and Samara Hill gave the Wolves much needed cushion to close the game.
In this defensive chess match the Wolves turned the Bears over a total of 13 times and gained 18 points off of those mistakes. Newberry also ended the game with five blocks with two coming from Essex, two from Courtney Lyons, and one from McCarty.
Essex nabbed her eighth double-double of the season to make 11 over her three-year career at Newberry. She tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists over 28 minutes.
McCarty gave the Wolves another scoring option off the bench as she would go 3-for-4 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. She totaled eight points, two assists and six rebounds.
This back and forth game saw a total of eight lead changes with Newberry’s largest lead in the third period at seven points. Lenoir-Rhyne’s largest lead came in the second period at six points, conversely. Newberry ended the contest with 17 assists with Kelsey McDermott and Britten dishing out nine of those collectively.
“This was a great team effort as we got contribution from everyone tonight and had some people step up and make big plays down the stretch,” said Head Coach Sean Page.
Newberry will continue their road-stint against conference rival Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate, Tenn. with tipoff slated for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3.