Ladies Fall 67-58 to Western Illinois in Mid-Con Opener
Saturday, January 6, 2007

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Box Score

Jelena Aleksic led all
players with 18 points

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Centenary (4-11, 0-1 Mid-Con) played tough throughout Saturday’s game against Western Illinois (4-10, 1-0 Mid-Con), but missed opportunities led to a 67-58 loss to the Westerwinds in the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both teams at the Gold Dome.

Facing the defending conference regular season champion Westerwinds, Centenary entered Saturday’s game with a new outlook on the season, a new beginning and an opportunity to start afresh with the start of conference play.

Vital to any success in the conference, a team must hold serve and win its home games during the Mid-Con schedule.

Saturday, the Ladies started slow out of the box and fell behind by six points at the intermission, having to play catch-up for majority of the contest.

"It probably took us 15-20 minutes to get going," Centenary head coach Steve Curtis said. "This was a game we could’ve won and we let it get away from us. "They’re (Western Illinois) very difficult. They were very strong, but we just didn’t react."

Western Illinois’ strength was illustrated by the inside attack of 6-foot-2 sophomore forward Nicole Myers, who finished with 16 points Saturday. Playing with her back to the basket and stationing herself in the paint, Myers used her strength and height to go 8-for-9 from the floor and help Western Illinois build a 30-22 advantage in points in the paint.

When not going inside to Myers, the Westerwinds used an array of screens to get their shooters open looks from beyond the arc, hitting seven three-pointers in the win and shooting 50 percent from three-point range.

As Centenary would come within 1-to-2 possession of tying the game, Western Illinois would step back and hit timely three-point shots, building as much as a 12-point lead late in the game.

"Everytime we made a mistake, they capitalized on it," Curtis said. "Down the stretch we just got in hurry and lost our composure, not taking care of the basketball."

Western Illinois guards Amanda Walker and Gina Hugelier combined to hit six of the Westerwinds seven three-pointers in the win.

The Ladies forged back to tie the game early in the second half when senior forward Jelena Aleksic (Belgrade, Serbia) hit a three from in front of the Centenary bench, tying the game at 38-38.

Following Aleksic’s three, the two teams would continue to trade baskets, with Centenary just unable to get over the hump and take a lead.

For the game, Centenary shot 44 percent from the floor, hitting 38.5 percent of its three-point shots.

Aleksic led all players with 18 points, grabbing six rebounds and going 8-of-15 from the floor.

Hindered by foul trouble and playing only nine minutes in the first half, fellow senior Holli Wilkins (Evadale, Texas) chipped-in with 13 points in the loss.

Centenary has little time to dwell on Saturday’s loss to the Westerwinds, as the team must prepare for a stern test Monday when it faces Valparaiso at the Gold Dome. The Lady Crusaders knocked off preseason Mid-Con favorite Oral Roberts Saturday afternoon and will come into Monday’s game having won its last three contests. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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