Barton freshman guard Tiffany Webster sank two free throws with 3.8 seconds left, and senior guard Kelsey Long's shot at the buzzer was wide as the seventh-seeded Barton Bulldogs defeated the second-seeded Belmont Abbey Crusaders 78-77 this evening in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Tournament, powered by OrthoCarolina. Barton advances to face the third-seeded Mount Olive Wednesday night at 5:30 as it improves to 13-14.
The Crusaders, which are ranked sixth in the latest NCAA Southeast regional poll, are now 21-8 and must await if they receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The contest featured 15 ties and 17 lead changes as neither team led by more than eight points, which was owned by Barton with 17:37 left in the game.
Barton led 44-41 at the half as Brianna Thomas swished a three-pointer with three seconds left to give the Bulldogs the halftime edge.
Belmont Abbey led 39-35 with 3:05 left in the half-its largest lead of the game-but the Bulldogs closed on an 11-4 run.
The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 10-4 run to open up their largest lead of the game, eight points at 53-45 with 17:37 left, but the Crusaders responded with a 10-1 run to surge ahead 57-53 on two McKenzie Owen free throws with 13:08 to play.
From there, no lead was greater than three points as the game became tied five more times.
With 4:35 left, Morgan Midkiff swished a three pointer that moved the Abbey ahead 70-69 and Owen pushed it to three with a layup.
Barton countered with a jumper, but another Owen layup moved the lead back to three at 74-71 with 2:50 to go.
On its next possession, Thomas drained a three pointer to tie the game for the 13th time.
An Abbey offensive foul on the next trip turned into a two point Barton lead as Kaila Lee sank a running layup with 1:58 to go.
Owen missed a jumper on the next trip and Barton rebounded. On the ensuing possession, Lea missed the shot but Long grabbed the rebound with 37 seconds left. She was fouled and made the first shot, but missed the second.
Owen, however, grabbed the rebound, fired up a shot and missed grabbed her own rebound and missed grabbed the rebound again and was fouled with 32 seconds left and the Abbey down by one.
She made both free throws to put the Abbey on top again at 77-76.
On the inbounds, Barton dribbled down and worked the offense until Webster, who nearly lost the ball to Candace Fox, drove the right side of the lane and ran in to Melisa Foures, who was whistled for the blocking foul. Webster made both to produce the last points of the game.
Belmont Abbey called timeout after the free throw and set up the final play. Foures's inbounds pass reached Owen at midcourt, who flung a pass up the court but over the head of Long, who chased it down in the corner and flung a desperation shot at the buzzer that was nowhere near the basket as Barton escaped.
Owen led all scorers with 27 points, 16 in the second half as she sank 11 of 24 from the field. She also had ten rebounds. Midkiff added 23 on 9-20 shooting, including 5-11 from three-point range. She added six assists, as did Fox. Belmont Abbey shot 41.1 percent (30-73) from the field and made 6-18 (33.3 percent) from three-point range.