NEWBERRY — Led by a career day by junior Devanee Taylor, the Newberry women’s basketball team pushed past the visiting Lenoir-Rhyne Bears for a 64-59 victory securing the Wolves’ first sweep of the Bears since the 2007-08 season.
Newberry (19-9, 11-7 SAC) surrendered the first point of the afternoon to the visiting Bears (18-8, 13-5 SAC) before jumping out to a 5-1 lead on a 3-point make by sophomore Zara Pearson and a layup by sophomore Samantha Creed. The Bears didn’t let the Wolves enjoy their lead long, scoring six straight points to take a two-point lead over the Wolves.
Newberry quickly knotted the game at 7-7 with the return of sophomore Haylee Lepaio as she hit the first shot she took. The two teams exchanged makes over the next few minutes as Lepaio scored six-straight points to give the Wolves an 11-9 lead with 12:21 remaining in the first half.
Lenoir-Rhyne’s Jenni Gust answered Lepaio’s third make with a jumper of her own, before Newberry senior Kendra Brown drained a 3-pointer to give the Wolves a one-point lead once again. A make on the other end of the court by Danielle Bongiorno continued the seesaw battle as Lenoir-Rhyne regained the lead.
The Bears’ lead reached three-points before Newberry again took a lead, this time on a jumper by Creed. Newberry’s lead again did not last long before L-R took control of the game for a three-minute span, pushing its lead to as many as six points.
Down by six with 2:51 remaining in the first half, the Wolves cut the Bears’ lead to three on a 3-point make by Creed. Creed scored again on the Wolves’ next trip down the court, and soon regained the lead on a jumper by Taylor. Taylor’s jumper sent the Wolves to halftime with a 33-32 lead.
The Wolves continued to roll as the action resumed, extending its lead to five points with 16:51 remaining. Lenoir-Rhyne bounced back from the Wolves’ early run, regaining the lead with 14 minutes remaining on a pair of made free throws by Bongiorno. The Bears’ lead reached four, with a little over ten minutes to go until Brown and Creed scored on back-to-back possessions to tie the game up for the seventh time.
Keeping with the afternoon’s trend the Newberry lead soon became a Lenoir-Rhyne lead as the Bears soon saw a six-point advantage with 4:50 remaining in the game. Leapio cut the Bears’ lead to four points on a pair of made free throws, before Taylor hit a pair as well to cut the deficit to two points. With 1:42 on the clock Lepaio hit the front end of a one-and-one to put the Wolves within one of the Bears.
Lepaio scored on the next trip down the floor, before Brown hit a pair of free throws to give Newberry a three-point lead. A pair of made free throws by Taylor, followed by a Lenoir-Rhyne make and a couple of free throw makes by Brown saw the time expire with a five-point Newberry victory.
Taylor led the Wolves with a career high 18 points, while also adding eight rebounds. Lepaio posted a 17-point performance off the bench and added seven boards. Creed scored 14 points in the Wolves’ regular season finale. In her senior day game, Brown tallied 11 points, five assists and three rebounds.
Newberry hosts a quarterfinal game in the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday.