Ladies Fall to Southern Miss, Bush Scores 27
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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Box Score

Cierra Bush led all scorers
with 27 points Wednesday

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Amber Eugene’s 21-point effort led Southern Mississippi (6-7) to a 73-61 win over the Centenary women’s basketball team (3-10) Wednesday at Reed Green Coliseum. Four players scored in double figures for the Lady Eagles in Wednesday’s game.

What could be viewed as a tale of two halves, Centenary fell behind early and could not overcome a 17-point halftime deficit.

Southern Miss held a double-digit lead for majority of the opening half, taking advantage of its size-advantage on the interior and miscues on the offensive end by Centenary.

With the score 15-10 in favor of the home Lady Eagles, Centenary proceeded to allow five-straight points, helping Southern Miss take a 10-point advantage. The Lady Eagles would build upon this lead throughout the remainder of the half, holding a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the contest.

Turnovers and poor execution, both offensively and defensively, in the first half may have been the culprit in Wednesday’s 12-point loss to the Lady Eagles.

Turning the ball over 24 times in the game, Centenary racked up 15 turnovers in the first half, resulting in 14 Southern Miss points.

"It just poise. It’s hard to work on poise," Centenary head coach Steve Curtis said of the early turnovers. "It’s hard to work on decision making under pressure. A lot of times we caught the ball and would have someone open right where we wanted them open, yet we wouldn’t throw her the ball."

The turnovers, coupled with poor shooting from the field, caused the Ladies to have to play catch up in the second half.

For the half, Centenary shot 30.8 percent from the floor, converting just 1-of-8 three-point shots.

A different Centenary team took the court for the start of the second half.

Down 44-27, the Ladies showed a greater focus and patience on the offensive end in the second half, scoring points on its first four possessions down the court.

Despite the increased efficiency and aggressiveness, the Ladies still trailed by 21 points with 10:05 remaining in the second half following a jumper by Lady Eagle freshman Lauren Pittman.

Following Pittman’s basket, the Ladies would proceed to score eight consecutive points, with sophomore Cierra Bush (Campti, La.) scoring six of the eight points. Bush led all scorers with 27 points in Wednesday’s contest, hitting 6-of-11 shots and 3-of-6 three-point opportunities. Wednesday’s game marked the second-straight game Bush has scored 20-plus points, setting a new career high for points in a game.

Although having momentum solely on its side and trailing by 13 after two free throws by Bush, time became a factor for Centenary, as only four minutes remained in regulation.

Eugene extended the lead back up to 16 points after hitting a jumper with 2:17 left in the contest, halting any opportunity of a Centenary comeback.

With Eugene, Kendra Reed (14), Pittman (13) and Liz Biland (14) all scored in double figures for the Lady Eagles. An illustration of how different the Ladies’ play was from the first half to the second half, Reed and Biland, who led all scorers with 12 and 10 points in the first half, respectively, combined for just six points in the second half.

"In the first half we really took some quick shots and we didn’t adapt to the press," Curtis said. "In the second half we had more poise and made better decisions with the basketball. We screened a little bit more and made some baskets."

As a team, Centenary outscored Southern Miss, 34-29, in the second half, never quitting despite trailing by double figures.

For the game, the Ladies shot 34.7 percent from the floor, going 4-for-16 from the three-point line for 25 percent.

Limited to just 10 minutes in the second half due to foul trouble, senior guard Holli Wilkins (Evadale, Texas) moved into a tie atop Centenary’s career steals list, tying former Ladies’ guard Julie Danieles for the top spot. Wilkins has notched 186 career steals, already owning the school record for steals in a season with 82 steals in her junior year.

Centenary takes a break from competition to celebrate the holiday season, next playing Dec. 30 at the Gold Dome against McNeese State.