Women's Basketball Snaps Streak, Defeats Sam Houston State
Sunday, December 17, 2006

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Box Score

Holli Wilkins had 23 points
in Sunday's win, leading all scorers

Cierra Bush had a double-double
with 20 poitns and 10 rebounds

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- A dubious streak was halted Sunday as the Centenary women’s basketball team (3-9) defeated Sam Houston State (3-7), 84-70, at Johnson Coliseum. The Ladies were led by a combined 43 points by Holli Wilkins and Cierra Bush.

Exploding for its largest point output of the season, Centenary snapped its streak of 55 consecutive losses on the road, dating back to the 2002-03 season. Last earning a road win Dec. 7, 2002 against St. Francis College, an energized Ladies side showed focus and determination from the opening tip, executing on the offensive end throughout the game.

"I feel good because we did a really good job of reading the defense and executing our offense," Centenary head coach Steve Curtis said following the win.

Of the 84-point output by Centenary, Curtis said that if his team is executing offensively, they should be able to score 70 to 80 points.

From the get-go, it was noticeable that this was a changed Centenary team, showing an abundance of hustle and hitting its open looks.

With Sam Houston State leading by a point a little over five minutes into the game, senior forward Jelena Aleksic (Belgrade, Serbia) hit a three just beyond the left arc to give the Ladies a 15-13 lead.

Moving the ball to open shooters, Centenary would only build to the advantage following Aleksic’s bucket, not surrendering the lead for the remainder of the contest.

Six-straight points would follow Aleksic’s three, five points by junior Sara Judice (Lafayette, La.) alone.

The Ladies would take a three-point lead into the half thanks to 52 percent shooting from the floor, shooting a season high for the first half from three-point range (55.6 percent).

More of the same greeted the Ladies at the start of the second half, as Centenary scored six-straight points following the intermission to take a nine-point lead and forcing an early timeout by Sam Houston State to regroup. Bush scored the final basket during the early run, ending the night with a double-double, the first by any Ladies’ player this season.

Adding 10 rebounds to her 20 points, Bush often found success in the paint against the Bearkats, routinely cutting to the basket for hard-fought layups. Playing a very compete game, Bush also had four steals and four assists in 35 minutes of play.

As the clock ticked closer to zero, it was obvious that it was Centenary’s night, holding as much as a 21-point lead after two Bush free throws with 9:38 remaining in the second half.

To their credit, the Bearkats would not go down easy, cutting into Centenary’s lead and whittling the deficit to 10 points with less than two minutes remaining after a layup by Alexis Green. Green, a freshman guard, led the Bearkats with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.

Forced to foul the Ladies following Green’s basket, Centenary closed out any chance of a comeback by Sam Houston State at the line, going a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe to end the game and capture the 14-point victory.

For the game, Centenary shot a season-high 52 percent from the floor, hitting a season-high 47.1 percent of its three-point shots and shooting 80 percent from the line. A telling statistic in the win, the Ladies missed just two free throws (21-23) in the second half, illustrating a focus that may have been missing in earlier losses this season.

Following Sunday’s game, Centenary travels to Southern Miss for a non-conference game Wednesday at 7 p.m. In Wednesday’s contest against the Golden Eagles, Wilkins, who had a game-high 23 points against Sam Houston State Sunday, has an opportunity to become the all-time steals leader at Centenary. Needing two steals to become the career leader, Wilkins isn’t letting the record-breaking mark divert her focus and what’s best for the team.

Said Wilkins, "If I worry about that, I’ll probably be on the bench the entire game. That’s not really something I need to worry about."

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