Wilkins Scores Career High, Ladies Fall to UTPA in Opener
Saturday, November 11, 2006

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Box Score

Holli Wilkins scored a career-high
31 points in the loss to UTPA

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Despite a career-high 31 points by senior Holli Wilkins, the Centenary women’s basketball team (0-1) fell to the University of Texas-Pan American (1-0), 65-46, Saturday at the Gold Dome.

Scoring 31 of the Ladies 46 points in the contest, Wilkins, a native of Evadale, Texas, broke her previous career mark of 27 points in the loss, scoring 21 of Centenary’s 23 points in the second half.

Although having a career night, going 11-for-19 from the floor and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc, Wilkins said the points come secondary to winning, disappointed with the loss in the season-opener of her final collegiate season.

"A career-high in points doesn’t really matter, I’d rather of won the game," Wilkins said following the opening loss.

Asked what the teams needs to improve on in future games, Wilkins said the Ladies must play a complete game.

"We got to have faith in this offense and, across the board, everyone needs to play the entire game," Wilkins said.

Playing the Lady Broncs even through the first 10 minutes of the game, Centenary followed with almost a six-minute scoreless drought, allowing UTPA to build an 11-point lead.

Shooting high-percentage shots, UTPA built an 18-point lead following the first half, hitting majority of their shots from inside the paint. The Lady Broncs, who shot 60.7 percent from the floor in the opening half, had 26 points from inside the paint, compared to just eight in the first half for the Ladies.

Attempting to rebound from a poor shooting effort in the first half, going 8-for-28 from the floor, Wilkins led Centenary’s comeback effort in the second half.

Down by 49-30 with less than 14 minutes remaining in the contest, Wilkins single-handedly brought the Ladies back within 11 points of UTPA. From the 13:16 mark of the second half, 10-straight points by Wilkins made the score 51-40, cutting the deficit to 11 points with a little under nine minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Centenary, the comeback effort was halted by three consecutive baskets by the Lady Broncs, extending the lead to 17 points with roughly five minutes to play in regulation and closing out the victory for UTPA.

Leading UTPA in the win was junior Tamara Vaughn, who had 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor.

Coaching in his first regular season game with the Ladies, Centenary head coach Steve Curtis was not happy, nor satisfied with his team’s performance in the opener.

"It’s just a matter of executing what we’re trying to execute and we missed some easy shots," Curtis said. "There were layups there that we missed and there were shots there that we missed because we weren’t looking for them."

Asked what his team must improve upon in the coming weeks, Curtis says the Ladies must grow as a team.

"We have to learn how to play as a team better. We have to learn how to screen better and not just stand around and watch one person," Curtis said. "This was a winnable game, but we just didn’t execute."

As a team, Centenary shot 29.8 percent from the floor, echoing the sentiments of Curtis.

Behind Wilkins. senior Jelena Aleksic (Belgrade, Serbia) had seven points in the loss, with freshman Jasmine Bothwell (Birmingham, Ala.) leading Centenary with seven rebounds.

Regardless of the loss in the opener, Curtis cycles in a new era of Centenary women’s basketball, pleased with the crowd in the season-opener at the Gold Dome.

"Overall, I was pleased with the crowd. I thought for the first game, we had good enthusiastic support," Curtis said.

The Ladies look to learn from the season-opening loss in their next contest, visiting Jackson State Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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