Salisbury, N.C. - The Brevard College women’s basketball team was unable to take down the Conference Carolinas preseason favorite, Barton College, on Friday night as they fell 82-71 in the opening game of the Comfort Suites Classic held at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. Micheala Watkins led the Tornados with 24 points in the loss. The Tornados fell to 2-4 on the season with the loss.
Brevard traded baskets up and down the floor with the Bulldogs for the first eight minutes of play. The score was tied 15-15 at the 11:48 marker which prompted an 8-0 run by the Barton Bulldogs giving them a 23-15 lead with 10:29 remaining in the first half. After trading a few buckets again the Tornados fell behind as many as 11 points when the Bulldogs hit a three-point basket with 5:33 left in the first half. Brevard was trailing 33-22 when Holli Flippo (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) scored four straight on a jumper from the free throw line in transition, as well as, a pair of free throws. Flippo’s run brought Brevard within seven points. Lindsay Brendle (High Point, N.C.) and Candice Fritz (North East, MD) followed suit by combining to go 3-of-4 from the charity stripe to bring the Tornados within four of the Bulldogs.
Brevard and Barton went up and down the floor trading baskets, but the Tornados came within two when Flippo hit a pair of free throws with 1:57 remaining in the game. Barton’s Janae Jackson took the ball down the floor and hit a layup in the Bulldogs next trip. The Tornados were able to return-fire when Brianna Worley (Asheville, N.C.) hit a jumper with just four seconds remaining in the first half to bring Brevard within two as time expired.
The Tornados trailed 39-37 as they went into the half. Fritz and Micheala Watkins (Forest City, N.C.) led the Tornados in the first half with 13 points a piece. Watkins was also able to come up with a pair of steals in the first 20 minutes of play. Brevard was 11-for-24 from the field, which was good for 45.8% in the first half of play. They were also able to shoot 14-of-17 from the free throw line, good for 82.4%.
Brevard came within one-point when Fritz hit 1-of-2 free throws in the first 30 seconds of play in the second half. That was the closest the Tornados would come as the free throw sparked a 10-3 Bulldogs run, giving Barton a seven point lead with 16:14 remaining in the game.
Following a pair of free throws at the 15:46 mark by Barton’s Jamila Johnson, the Tornados trailed 50-41. The next two times down the floor, Brevard was able to score a pair of baskets when Asheley Watkins (Bostic, N.C.) and Amanda Whitaker (Asheville, N.C.) each were able to hit a layup, bringing the game within five points, 50-45, with 12:40 remaining.
Following the pair of layups, Barton went on an 11-3 run giving the Bulldogs a 13-point advantage at 61-48 with just over eight minutes remaining. Though the Tornados were able to pull back within six points, costly Tornado turnovers and fouls gave Barton an opening to take the game by an 11-point final as they topped Brevard 82-71.
The Bulldogs’ Jamila Johnson led all scorers with 27 points. Johnson was 9-for-19 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Barton shot 35.5% from the field as they were 27-of-76 in the game. Barton’s Nyesha Willie added 14 points of her own for the Bulldogs.
The Tornados had three players in double-figures as each Flippo, Fritz and Watkins were able to drop at least 10 points. Flippo finished with 10, going 2-for-2, including a three-pointer, from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. Fritz was able to drop 16 points in the loss as she was 5-of-9 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line on the night. Watkins led the Tornados with 24 points, going 9-of-11 from the field. She was 1-for-2 from three-point land and 5-7 from the free throw line. As a team, Brevard shot 52.1% from the field going 25-for-48. However, they did turn the ball over 30 times in the game which aided to the Bulldogs victory. Watkins continued to play strong defense swiping the ball four times from the Bulldogs, while Flippo and Fritz each had a pair of blocks in the game.
The Tornados continue their play in the Comfort Suites Classic tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Lees-McRae Bobcats at 2 p.m. at Goodman Gymnasium on the campus of Catawba College. Fans can follow live statistics by clicking here.