Ladies Host Texas Pan American in Season Opener
Friday, November 10, 2006


Files associated with this release:
UTPA Game Notes


Jelena Aleksic

Holli Wilkins

LADIES OPEN 2006-07 SEASON

Centenary opens its eighth season of NCAA Division I basketball Saturday, hosting the University of Texas Pan American at the Gold Dome at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available for $7 for adults, $5 for non-Centenary students, at the box office. Centenary students, faculty and staff are admitted for free with valid school ID.

CENTENARY IN OPENERS

In its 11th season of basketball, seventh at the NCAA Division I level, the Centenary women’s basketball team has a 4-6 (.400) record in season-openers.

At the Division I level, the Ladies are 2-5 (.286) in season-opening games. Centenary is 4-3 in home openers while in Division I.

In last season’s opener, the Ladies fell to the University of New Orleans, 77-70, played Nov. 19, 2005 at the Gold Dome.

CURTIS AT THE HELM

Steve Curtis begins his first season as head coach of the Ladies, launching the 2006-07 season with Saturday’s game against Texas-Pan American.

Bringing renewed hope and direction to the Ladies’ program, Curtis spent the last three seasons as the top assistant at Mississippi State University.

ENTERING THEIR FINAL YEAR

Seniors Jelena Aleksic, Holli Wilkins and Tracee Byrd enter their final season in the Ladies program.

Both three-year letterwinners and three-year starters, Aleksic and Wilkins will be depended on in their senior season. Combined, the two accounted for one-third (505 points) of Centenary’s scoring last season.

CENTENARY AGAINST UTPA

Centenary has a 2-6 lifetime record against Texas-Pan American.

The Ladies have won the last two encounters against the Lady Broncs, defeating UTPA, 60-58, Feb. 1, 2003 at the Gold Dome in the last meeting between the two teams.

PRESEASON ACCOLADES

Senior Holli Wilkins was named to the 2006-07 Mid-Continent preseason all-conference second team.

Entering her senior season, Wilkins is building off last season in which she earned honorable mention All-Mid-Continent Conference accolades. She led the conference in steals as a junior, averaging 3.42 steals per game.

LADIES PICKED EIGHTH IN MID-CON

Returning three starters and eight letterwinners, Centenary was picked eighth in the 2006-07 Mid-Continent preseason poll.

Voted on by conference coaches, sports information directors and select media members, the Ladies garnered 41 points in the preseason poll.

WILKINS LEADS LADIES TO EXH. WIN

Four players scoring in double figures, led senior Holli Wilkins 17 points, helped Centenary capture a 79-77 comeback win over Harding University Monday.

In the final exhibition game of the season, the Ladies came back from a 17-point halftime deficit to earn the two-point victory over Harding, outscoring their opponent, 45-26, in the second half.

Joining Wilkins in double figures Monday was Jelena Aleksic (12), Bethany Joseph (12) and Samantha Gillespie (11).

On the boards, Gillespie and junior Laura Way led Centenary with eight rebounds.

CLAMPING DOWN ON D

After trailing by 17 points at halftime, the Ladies stepped up their defense in their exhibition win over Harding Monday.

Allowing Harding to shoot 43.9 percent in the first half, Centenary picked up the D in the second half, limiting its opponent to 10-for-35 shooting from the floor and 28.6 percent.

STEAL LEADER

Holli Wilkins picked up where she left off in the lone exhibition game for the Ladies.

Leading the Mid-Continent Conference with 82 steals last season, Wilkins led the Ladies with four steals against Harding Monday, playing 20 minutes.

JANKOVIC, COWGILL JOIN STAFF

Bojan Jankovic and K.C. Cowgill come aboard to fill out head coach Steve Curtis’ coaching staff.

Jankovic brings vast international playing and coaching experience to the Centenary staff.

He comes to the Ladies after serving as assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of the Ozarks. Prior to that, Jankovic served as a student assistant coach at Texas A&M Commerce. In Serbia and Montenegro, he was an assistant coach with Club Radnicki, serving as head coach of the Boys Under-18 team.

As a player, he played his collegiate ball at Mount Senario College, playing professionally in Serbia and Russia.

Cowgill comes to Centenary after serving as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and as an assistant basketball coach at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Mo.

Her playing experience includes stints in the Big 12 conference and the Missouri Valley Conference, playing for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Missouri State, respectively. She served as team captain at both schools, named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2004 and helping Missouri State to the 2005 WNIT National Championship.

FRESHMEN IN STARTING FIVE

Two freshmen broke the starting lineup in the lone exhibition game for the Ladies.

Rookie guards Monique Jefferson and Samantha Gillespie started against Harding Monday, joined by seniors Jelena Aleksic and Holli Wilkins, with sophomore Cierra Bush.

Centenary boasts of roster with six true freshmen, making up 40 percent of active players on the Ladies.

Jasmine Bothwell joined Jefferson and Gillespie as freshmen who played double-digit minutes against Harding Monday.

Last season, freshmen combined for four starts for Centenary.

LOOKING TO BREAK RECORD

Now playing in its eighth season at the NCAA Division I level and under the new direction of head coach Steve Curtis, Centenary looks to take the next step and work towards breaking the program record for wins.

In seven previous season as a D-I program, the Ladies have a high of nine wins, set in the 2001-02 season, a mark that the Ladies look to break this season.

The high for conference wins in a single-season is two, registered last season and the 2003-04 season.

LADIES AGAINST MID-CON

Centenary looks to improve on its record against Mid-Continent Conference competition in the upcoming season under new head coach Steve Curtis.

In three years in the Mid-Con, the Ladies have a 3-39 record in conference games.

CENTENARY VS. MID-CON

Team

W

L

IUPUI

0

6

Oakland

0

6

Oral Roberts

0

6

Southern Utah

2

4

UMKC

1

5

Valparaiso

0

6

Western Illinois

0

6

Totals

3

39

HEIGHT AVERAGE

With 6-foot-3 Leslie Forest as its tallest player, the Ladies have an average height of just over 5’9.

LADIES ON THE WEB

A total of 21 Centenary games, along with the conference tournament, will be available online, with streaming broadcasts at www.sportsjuice.com or linked off of gocentenary.com. All games are made available free of charge to fans and supporters, with Doug Greenwald handling play-by-play duties.

Games Available:

Nov. 21

at New Orleans

Nov. 28

at Northwestern State

Nov. 30

vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Dec. 5

vs. Lamar

Dec. 17

at Sam Houston State

Dec. 20

at Southern Miss

Jan. 6

vs. Western Illinois

Jan. 8

vs. Valparaiso

Jan. 13

at Southern Utah

Jan. 15

at UMKC

Jan. 20

vs. Chicago State

Jan. 22

vs. Oral Roberts

Jan. 27

vs. Oakland

Jan. 29

vs. IUPUI

Feb. 3

at Valparaiso

Feb. 5

at Western Illinois

Feb. 10

vs. UMKC

Feb. 12

vs. Southern Utah

Feb. 19

at Oral Roberts

Feb. 24

at IUPUI

Feb. 26

at Oakland

Mar. 3-6

Mid-Con Tournament

MID-CON RETURNS TO TULSA

For the second consecutive season, the 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Championships will be played at John Q. Hammons Arena at the UMAC in Tulsa, Okla.

Played March 3-6, 2007 in Tulsa and hosted by the Tulsa Sports Commission, both the men’s and women’s conference championships will be played at Hammons Arena this season.

ORU PICKED AS FAVORITES

Oral Roberts University were picked as conference favorites in the 2006-07 Mid-Con Preseason Poll, earning 12 first-place votes.

Coming off a 16-12 season, including 10-6 in conference play, the Golden Eagles return four starters from last season’s team, including Mid-Con Preseason Player of the Year Elisha Turek.

Turek, a senior forward, looks to earn first team all-conference honors for the fourth consecutive season. She led Oral Roberts and the conference in scoring with a 16.5 scoring average, adding 8.7 rebounds per game. Turek needs 188 rebounds to break the conference career record.

2006-07 MID-CON PRESEASON POLL

Team Points

Team

Points (1st Place Votes)

1. Oral Roberts

237 (12)

2. Valparaiso

213 (5)

3. IUPUI

177 (3)

4. Western Illinois

156 (2)

5. UMKC

145

6. Oakland

142

7. Southern Utah

65

8. Centenary

41

UP NEXT

Centenary travels to Jackson State University Tuesday for a non-conference game at 7 p.m.

Last season, the Ladies fell to Jackson State, 73-61, played Dec. 5, 2005 at the Gold Dome.