Arkansas Hands Ladies First Loss of Season
Sunday, November 21, 2004

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark – With a shorthanded squad of only eight available players, the Centenary women’s basketball team fell to host Arkansas 86-54 for their first loss of the season.  The Ladies played strong against the Lady Razorbacks, showing a strong competitive spirit despite facing a bigger, deeper, and more experienced team.


             Both teams initially had trouble taking care of the ball, combining for 10 turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, including a traveling call against the Lady’Backs three seconds into the contest.  Turnovers would plague the Ladies all afternoon, giving up 27 for 34 points in the first half alone, 41 for 43 on the day.


Arkansas used strong mid-floor pressure to prevent the Ladies from running a half-court offense early, forcing Centenary to rely on three-point shots and second-chance points off the glass.  The Ladies were able stay within 10 points through the first 10 minutes of the second half behind seven points by junior Laura Kizyte, the team’s leading scorer.  She finished with 16 in the game.


But the Lady’Backs began to pull away, forcing consecutive turnovers under the Ladies’ basket after an inbounds pass, adding to an 18-point lead with eight minutes remaining.  Centenary kept strong, whittling away at the lead with fast-break points from Ricquel Crockrom and Kizyte, and back-to-back threes by freshman Brittany Barbee, pulling within 14 before Arkansas ran into the half with a 51-25 lead.


Both squads shot well in the first half, with the Ladies shooting for 41.7 percent from the floor and Arkansas shooting just about 51 percent.  Although Centenary’s trouble with controlling the ball gave the Lady’Backs an extreme 20-3 steals advantage, the Ladies outrebounded the bigger Arkansas team 18-16, led by Jelena Aleksic’s five boards in the first frame.


Sophomore playmaker Holli Wilkins was forced to sit the majority of the second half after picking up four personal fouls in the first 20 minutes.  With the 5’11 guard on the bench, the Ladies were put at a height disadvantage by replacing her with the 5’4 Barbee.  With a discernable size advantage, Arkansas pulled to a 40-point lead with just under 12 minutes remaining.


With the game seemingly put away, Centenary kept up the pressure, playing with the same drive and enthusiasm as from the opening tip.  Barbee used her smaller stature and quick speed to collect five boards while adding eight points for the Ladies.  Aleksic continued to play hard also, banging beneath the glass to collect a game-high nine rebounds and eight points of her own.


The Ladies head to Memphis this weekend to take part in the Lady Tiger Thanksgiving Classic.  They face host Memphis on Friday at 6 p.m. and either South Alabama or in-state foe Louisiana-Monore on Saturday.