The Barton Community College women’s basketball team battled back from an eight point deficit Saturday then held off Murray State College down the stretch winning 61-60 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in the Hutch Pawn and Jewelry Classic. The fourth straight victory improves Barton to 5-2 on the season sending the Aggies to their second straight loss having squandered a thirteen point lead on Friday falling by five to No. 3 Hutchinson dropping to 3-3 on the season. The Lady Cougars’ next action will come at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against the junior varsity squad from Sterling College in the first of a four-game non-conference home stand before beginning conference play December 2nd on the road.
Leading by three heading into the second quarter, the Aggies quickly exploded grew the lead out to eight getting consecutive long range bombs from Morgan Fletcher. A three pointer by Kilee Harris coming out of the Barton timeout turned momentum leading Barton to a 15-8 stretch drawing to within one before a late Murray State field goal gave the Aggies a three point halftime edge.
A steal and transition bucket by Regan Unruh set the second half defensive tone and three consecutive Aggie turnovers later Jalisa Jones‘ trey seized Barton’s first lead since midway through the first quarter. Murray State would answer with four straight before another Harris trey spurred a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead on the way to a three point 46-43 edge heading to the fourth.
Back-to-back treys by the Aggies quickly turned the scoreboard to the Aggies advantage but Unruh answered with her second trey of the game burying a left baseline shot in front of the Barton bench to tie it back up.
Barton would go on to build a six point lead holding the Aggies to only one point for the next seven minutes before a Rachel Poke baseline trey ended the drought cutting the deficit to three with 1:40 to play. Working the down the shot clock, Megan Jirak made a huge offensive play on a loose rebound tapping the ball out to the perimeter as the Lady Cougars would take nearly a minute off the game clock but was unable to add to its lead with thirty-five seconds remaining in the game.
A defensive double-team by Harris and Jirak forced the twenty-fourth Aggie turnover of the game giving Barton the ball with just under eighteen seconds and the three-point lead.
Following a Murray State thirty-second timeout, Barton Head Coach Trevor Rolfs made the coaching move of the day taking advantage of a new timeout rule in women’s basketball calling a subsequent full timeout out enabling the Lady Cougars to move up the ball into the front court on the inbounds.
Harris was immediately fouled going 2-for-2 at the stripe building the lead out to 59-54 with 15.6 seconds left. Following a Murray State timeout moving the ball to the Aggie front court, the Lady Cougar defense again came up big forcing a five second throw-in violation forcing the turnover. Alexus Bryson then went to the line making the first of two keeping the door open for the Aggies.
Shay Lynn Bass drained a deep left wing trey cutting the deficit in half and then on the ensuing throw-in, fouled Harris sending the sophomore from Protection, Kansas, to the line with 3.8 seconds to play. Rimming out the first charity throw, Harris sunk the second pushing the lead out to four. It would prove to be the difference maker as Amaka Nwakamma’s running three-pointer kissed off the glass and threw the net making the final score a one-point Barton win.
Harris led all players in scoring with seventeen points and four assists being joined by Unruh’s twelve on 4-of-8 shooting as the lone Lady Cougars to reach double-figures. Jirak just missed her second consecutive double-double performance finishing with eight points and a game high eleven rebounds while Bryson followed her career high seven assists from the day prior with a four assist afternoon.
Nwakamma and Fletcher were the lone Aggies to reach double figures with fifteen as the duo combined for 8-of-14 behind the arc.
Despite a season low 27% from the field, Barton got a nineteen point edge at the charity stripe sinking 20-of-28 while also controlling the boards for an eighteen rebound advantage in part to twenty-three offensive rebounds, nine coming from Jirak.