Wilkins' Last Second Shot Falls Short, Ladies Lose to Monroe
Thursday, November 30, 2006

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Box Score
Post Game Quotes

Holli Wilkins had a
game-high 21 points

Monique Jefferson scored
five points late in the second half

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The Centenary women’s basketball team (1-7) fell late to one-loss Louisiana-Monroe (7-1) Thursday, suffering a 74-71 loss to the Warhawks at the Gold Dome.

With the ball and 4.6 seconds left on the clock, Centenary had one last shot to send the game into overtime, looking for a desperation three with time running out on the game clock.

As senior Holli Wilkins (Evadale, Texas) hastily drove down the court with the ball, she unleashed a shot from just outside the top of the arc, as time expired with the ball in the air. Falling away as the shot was released, Wilkins’ shot fell short of the rim, resulting in the heartbreaking three-point loss to the Warhawks.

"We were just trying to get a shot," said Centenary head coach Steve Curtis of Wilkins’ last-second attempt. "Obviously, we would have liked to get her open, but with five seconds there really isn’t too much time to read too many things."

Arguably putting together their best all-around game of the season thus far, Centenary made up a double-digit deficit late to come within one possession of tying the Warhawks with Wilkins’ shot at the end of regulation.

"That was the first time that we played like we know we can play," Wilkins said. "Everyone bought into coach’s game plan and we all played well."

Trailing by 11 with 5:36 remaining in the contest, the Ladies could’ve folded. Instead, Centenary united and almost pulled off a miraculous comeback.

Finally getting better shots as a team, according to Curtis, freshman Monique Jefferson (Birmingham, Ala.) started the comeback with a pull-up jumper with 5:24 remaining.

Down by nine, five-straight points by Wilkins ensued, including a long three off a screen with 4:12 left in the contest. Wilkins led all players with 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor.

After a Shannon Lloyd free throw extended the lead back to five for Monroe, Jefferson nailed a three from the left corner to make it a one-possession game for Centenary. Raising her level of play recently, Jefferson finished the game with nine points, scoring at the most opportune time for the Ladies.

With the Warhawks leading 71-69 with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game, Wilkins drew a foul and went to the line with a chance to tie the game and complete the comeback for the Ladies. Unfortunately for Centenary, Wilkins went 1-of-2 from the line, making the score 71-70 in favor of Monroe.

Warhawks guard April O’Neal split two free throws to reestablish the two-point lead for Monroe with 1:09 remaining in the game. In the ensuring possession for the Centenary, junior Sara Judice (Lafayette, La.) drew a foul underneath, giving Centenary one more opportunity to tie the game with exactly 60 seconds left in regulation.

Again, Centenary could not capitalize on the opportunity to equalize the game, as Judice split the pair at the line, making the score, 72-71.

Showing the resiliency of the Ladies following the Judice miss, Wilkins alertly picked off a pass by Monroe sophomore Lottie Moore the next time down the court for the Warhawks, giving Centenary a chance to take the lead with just one basket.

On the possession, senior Jelena Aleksic (Belgrade, Serbia) was forced to take an off-balanced shot near the right block due to pressure by the Monroe frontcourt, missing the shot and forcing the Ladies to foul.

O’Neal made both of her free-throw attempts, extending the margin to three, leading to Wilkins last second three-point attempt.

Balanced by the Ladies was also key in Thursday’s close loss. Aleksic notched 17, while freshmen Jasmine Bothwell (Birmingham, Ala.) and Leslie Forest (La Place, La.) both scored eight.

Guard LaJeanna Howard led Monroe with 15 points in the win.

Thursday’s loss withstanding, Centenary looks to build off the effort put forth in the late comeback when it travels to Stephen F. Austin Saturday. Perhaps finally adjusting to a new system and playing as a team, the Ladies look to break a five-game losing streak in Saturday’s non-conference game at 6 p.m.