Tyler Smith, Staff Writer
Wingate University’s women’s basketball team fell short of completely overcoming a costly first half deficit in their Wednesday night conference match against the Lenoir Rhyne Bears. The Bulldogs came back from 17 points down in the third quarter to watch Morgan McGee’s potential overtime, in which forced a three pointer that bounced off the rim and solidified their 66-63 loss.
The Bulldogs played in complete silence for a majority of the first quarter of Wednesday’s conference matchup against the Lenoir Rhyne bears. It was Wingate’s fourth annual “Silent Game”, which meant the bench, band, cheerleaders and spectators were prohibited from making any noise until Wingate scored it’s tenth point.
The Bulldog’s were shooting 23.1% from the field in the first half, prolonged the silence from Wingate’s fans. All the while, the Bears took advantage of the quiet gym and suffocated the Bulldogs with not only their trap defense, but their bench’s loud vocals as well.
“In the first half we just couldn’t get any type of momentum going,” junior guard Alex Tomlinson said. “They were playing zone which made us stagnant on offense; we weren’t getting the ball inside or knocking down shots.”
After a relatively well matched first quarter, the Bears pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the home team 17-6. The Bears stretched their lead to 17 in the third quarter; however, by the end of the third quarter the Bulldogs made their first offensive push, rallying off of two back to back steals from sophomore guard Taziya Moody.
While it was Lenoir Rhyne’s defense that held the Bulldogs to such low percentages in the first half, the Bulldogs took their turn in the homestretch and forced multiple turnovers to cut the lead from 17 to three at the end of the third quarter. “In the second half we played with a bigger sense of urgency,” Tomlinson said. “We picked up the intensity on defense which caused turnovers which led to easy offense for us.”
The fourth quarter was a close battle and the Bulldogs looked like they were setting themselves up for the comeback win made by to huge plays from the junior guard Amber Neely and freshman guard Danasia Witherspoon. However, the Bears held onto the lead as the Bulldogs entered their final possession, and McGee’s potential game-tying shot took a bad bounce off the rim.
“We fought really hard to come back, as a result it made the loss that much harder to lose by so little,” Tomlinson said. “We knew we were a better team than them, and we waited too long to get it going and it cost us in the end.”
Edited by Brea Childs and Shea Murray