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Cougar women close out home classic with win
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The winning streak came to an end Friday night. But it didn’t take the Barton women’s basketball team much time to start a new one.
After seeing their six-game winning streak snapped the opening night of the Best Western/Booster Club Thanksgiving Classic, the Cougars responded with a win to finish up the weekend at the Barton Gym.
Barton lost a close one to a very good Iowa Western, 65-60, the opening night then defeated Otero (Colo) Junior College in overtime, 87-82.
With the split, Barton wraps up the non-conference portion of the schedule with an 8-3 record. Iowa Western improved to 7-2 after beating Cloud County as well, 88-84. Otero is 4-6.
Friday Iowa Western used a 9-2 run at the end of the first quarter to take a 12-7 lead. The Reivers would keep that lead throughout the second period, pushing it to 10 points, 21-11 early. But the Cougars hung around and closed the half on a 5-1 run to cut the margin to 26-22 at intermission.
Katrina Roenfeldt finally got the Cougars even late in the third with a trey at the 3-minute mark to make it 40-all. Jalisa Jones put Barton on top with another trey for a 45-44 lead with 1:12 left in the third. Barton led 47-44 heading into the final period
After Jones opened the fourth with a jumper, Barton had a 49-44 lead – its biggest of the game. Iowa Western answered with seven straight and the see-saw final period was on. The key shot of the game, perhaps, came with Barton up 57-55 with less than two minutes to play and Citlali Lopez hit a 3-pointer to put Iowa Western up 58-57.
The game was tied at 60-all after Jones scored with 33 second left. That is when the dagger came from Tantashea Giger for the Reivers. Giger buried a trey with eight seconds left for a 63-60 lead. A Barton turnover and two free throws gave Iowa Western the 65-60 win.
Jones led Barton with 19. Alexus Bryson added 14 and Roenfeldt 13.
If Friday’s game was exciting then Saturday’s was off the charts.
The contest featured 22 lead changes and 15 ties. Neither team led by more than six points and regulation couldn’t determine a winner.
Things looked like a lost weekend for Barton late in regulation. A pair of Elin Ekdahl free throws gave Otero its biggest lead of the second half at 68-63 with just 1:29 to play.
Regan Unruh kept the Cougars hopes alive with a baseline trey to make it 68-66 with 1:07 to play. Bryson kept the gym electric with a steal and layup with 28 seconds to play to even the score at 68-all. The Cougar defense kept Otero from getting off a shot in the final 28 seconds and the game went to overtime.
Unruh put Barton ahead for good with her fourth trey of the night. The Great Bend freshman made it 83-80 with 40 seconds left. Jones hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to make it 85-80 and put Barton in control. Jones put it away with two more free throws with six seconds left.
Megan Jirak had a big game for the Cougars. The Marion freshman scored 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting and hauled in a career-high 17 rebounds. It was the fifth double-double for the 5-10 forward.
Unruh scored a career-high 20 and Bryson added 19. Jones finished with 12 thanks in large part to a 10-for-12 night at the free throw line. Roenfeldt missed the game due to a knee injury and Dominique Baker is still out for Barton as well.
Now the Cougars turn focus to the Jayhawk Conference. With the new format teams will play 19 conference games starting Wednesday.
Barton will open with back-to-back road trips. The Cougars will head to Pratt Wednesday then at Butler Saturday. Pratt is 6-3 on the season while Butler is 10-1.