Ladies Earn 79-77 Comeback Win in Exhibition with Harding
Monday, November 6, 2006

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Box Score

Holli Wilkins had 17 points
to lead the Ladies in the win

Jelena Aleksic's basket gave
the Ladies the lead for good

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The Centenary women’s basketball team overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to earn a 79-77 comeback victory over Harding University in an exhibition contest at the Gold Dome Monday.

Trailing by 17 points at halftime, the Ladies rode a 14-2 run at the start the second half to get back into the game against the Lady Bison. The comeback run was capped by a three-pointer by senior forward Holli Wilkins (Evadale, Texas/Evadale) with 13:58 remaining in the second half, giving Centenary a 56-55 lead.

Harding regained the lead following three-pointers by freshman Kelsea Lyda and freshman Kaitlin May, building as much as a six-point lead following Wilkins’ momentum-changing three-pointer. The Lady Bison relied heavily on the three throughout the contest, hitting 16 of 44 attempts (36.4 percent) from beyond the arc.

With Harding leading, 69-65, with eight minutes remaining in the second half, a basket by senior Jelena Aleksic (Belgrade, Serbia/Universal) and two free throws by sophomore Cierra Bush (Campti, La./Lakeview) tied the game at 69-69 with 4:17 left.

Never trailing again following the Bush made free throws, Aleksic gave the Ladies the lead for good with a jumper from the left wing.

Down by two with time running out, a driving layup attempt by May rang off of the rim, sealing the victory for Centenary.

In the second half, the Ladies outscored Harding, 45-26, something Centenary head coach Steve Curtis and the Ladies can build on entering this weekend’s season-opener against Texas-Pan American.

"So much of winning is believing we could win," Curtis said of the Ladies comeback victory. Curtis expounded that Centenary went with a scripted first half, treating the game as an exhibition and taking a look at different combinations.

Plagued by turnovers (11) and superb perimeter shooting by the Lady Bison, Centenary trailed early in Monday’s contest, as Harding built a 22-9 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

Following a 13-2 Harding run following the first media timeout, the Ladies were unable to cut the deficit to under 10 points, as the Lady Bison drilled 11 three-pointers in the opening half, compared to just two for Centenary.

May hit a running-three with the clock expiring to build the Harding lead to 17 heading into the intermission.

Down by 17, Centenary came into the second half with a different attitude and executed on the offensive end, leading to the comeback win. In the second half, the Ladies shot 50 percent from the field, compared to 30.3 percent in the first half.

Leading the way for Centenary was Wilkins, who had 17 points, three rebounds and four steals, going 5-for-12 from the field with two three-pointers in the win.

Aleksic and junior Laura Way (Mount Pleasant, Pa./Mount Pleasant Area) both had 12 points in the win, with freshman Samantha Gillespie (Glenmora, La./Glenmora) scoring 11 points.

Asked what his team needs to work on heading into this weekend’s opener, Curtis focused mainly on the defensive end.

Rebounding, blocking out and defense on the basketball are all areas that Curtis said his team must improve on, along with defense on three-pointers and transition defense.

As his team could’ve folded, trailing by almost 20 points heading into the second half, the comeback win gives Curtis and the Ladies a strong building block heading into the 2006-07 season.

The season begins for Centenary Saturday against Texas-Pan American at the Gold Dome.

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