WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – The Barton College women’s basketball team will ride a 22-game winning streak into Friday’s NCAA Division II playoff game in Georgia.
The Bulldogs are a veteran squad and that experience should come in handy as the pressure begins to mount.
“We have six seniors this year who have been very good leaders for us and who have taught the younger kids the attitude of how to win games,” Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said. “Being an older group and having some experience really helps us.”
Barton College’s calling card is defense. The Bulldogs give up a lowly 56 points per game.
Offense may sell tickets, but the Bulldogs are more than happy winning games with hard work and effort.
“I think we have to dig down deep and work harder,” Barton College senior Jami Tham said. “Defense is really all effort, so once we have our defensive mind-state to just go hard and get stops, we do well.”
The women’s program at Barton College has been on a roll. The Bulldogs have made the national postseason tournament four of the past five seasons. And, fifteen years ago, the Bulldogs’ men won a national championship. Could this be the year their women do the same?
“We had a really great season last year and we advanced pretty well in the tournament and got the farthest we’ve ever been,” Barton College senior Akira Wiggins said. “I think we kind of wanted to win and set the tone for the rest of the seasons to come.”
And what a season it has been.
The 28-1 Bulldogs were rarely challenged, winning all but six of their games by more than ten points. Now it’s off to March Madness, with the only threat being where one bad game can end a season.
“We definitely bring it up…hey this is the moment right here we need to turn it on,” Wiggins said. “We don’t want to be sitting in the locker room after this game thinking, ‘man what if I had a little more to give’, so, that reminds us we can lose – and just because we’re a great team doesn’t mean you win every game we play.”
So far they’ve won all but one. And now this veteran squad, led by six seniors, will see how far that seasoning will take them.