WINGATE, N.C. — No. 7 tournament seeded Newberry traveled to face No. 2 Wingate on Wednesday night with a final score of 65-42.
Newberry mounted a late rally in the fourth period that led them to score their most points of the night at 17. Shelby Britten got the ball rolling for the Wolves as she scored on a layup. Following her points would be Meg Essex from the charity stripe and a fast break layup on a lob pass from Britten. Senior Samara Hill got in on the action as she would drain a much needed three-pointer that would be matched by Courtney Lyons moments later. Essex and Hill rounded out the remainder of the period, scoring on layups and at the free throw line.
The Wolves maintained their field goal percentage across four periods, but activated scoring from other areas in the second half. The latter two periods saw an increase at the line and behind the arc. Newberry’s second half shooting from the three-point area saw them go 6-for-8, a solid 75%. They also raised their free throw shooting to go 3-for-9.
Defense in the second half amped up for the Wolves as well. Before halftime Wingate was 13-for-34 from the field, and 1-for-3 from deep. The Bulldogs concluded the second half going 11-for-31 from the floor and 2-for-6 from behind the arc.
The evening started out slow for the Wolves as they went into the half trailing the Bulldogs 30-17. Newberry was unable to mount a run, but consistently dug into the Wingate lead over the span of two periods, however. Essex led the Wolves with eight points, Courtney Lyons tallied five, and Shelby Britten rounded out Newberry with four points.
Although the Wolves couldn’t get their shots to fall with rhythm in the first half, they held close to the Bulldogs’ field goal percentage shooting 32% and Wingate shooting 38.2%. Not going down without a fight, Newberry tallied 30 possessions that averaged 16 seconds. Wingate had only one more possession going into the half and averaged 20 seconds per Bulldog possession.
Wingate tried early to take junior center Essex out of the equation with double coverage on the low block, but it proved pointless as she would find a way to shake off defenders to score. On the other end Wingate center Marta Miscenko was held by the pack to only four points.
Essex would shine in the painted area battle ending the contest with 15 points, seven blocks, an assist, and eight rebounds. Essex finished the last the games with a total of 19 blocks.
Senior forward Hannah Lepaio and Regan McCarty joined Essex in swatting Bulldog shots from the basket tallying one each. Britten and Hill added to Newberry’s efforts with a combined 13 points.
Carolina Averette led the way for Wingate with 15 points, she was one of three Bulldogs in double-digits. Other contributors were kept to seven points or less.
Newberry concludes the 2017-2018 season with an overall record of 16-12 and 11-9 in conference play.