Ladies Fall to Long-Time I-49 Rival NSU, 109-72
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
NATCHITOCHES, La.-In a familiar territory and against the Ladies' oldest rival, the Centenary women's basketball team dropped its season opener 109-72 to Northwestern State on Tuesday evening on the road.

The Ladies (0-1) struggled on the boards, but showed some second half spark with an 11-0 run, despite being outsized in the paint.

Centenary was led in scoring by junior Jalena Sanders with 15 points, one shy of her career high. The Ruston, La. forward scored 14 of her 15 points in the second half. Junior Vashni Sharp-Moore added 13 points and led the team with seven assists in the effort, followed by freshman Dio Warr with 11 in her college debut.

Also adding to the Ladies' scoring column was sophomore Tandrea Shamblin with a career-best nine points and senior Megan Daniel with nine, while junior Kelly Johnstone added eight.

Northwestern State out rebounded Centenary on the evening, 60 to 28. Warr led Centenary with six rebounds off the bench.

A run-and-gun opening half led to a quick NSU advantage at 7-0 after just three minutes of play. Centenary broke loose with its first bucket of the game when Shamblin sank a jumper from the free throw line at 16:18.

The Ladies used a 4-0 run on two made free throws to make it a five-point game at 9-4. Northwestern State began to use its size advantage to pull ahead 19-7, but energy off the bench by Warr allowed the Ladies to stay close after her and Johnstone combined for the next six points for Centenary.

Down 19-11 with 11 minutes to play, NSU put together eight unanswered points before Daniel sank a three. Centenary stayed composed and fought its way back when freshman Derrany Thomas drained two free throws and Daniel hit her second trey of the night.

Northwestern broke loose with six minutes left, producing a 12-0 run for a 46-23 lead. Johnstone's first long ball of the evening ended the run, while the junior hit two in the final five minutes of play in the opening 20 minutes.

Centenary trailed 54-33 at the half. NSU out rebounded the Ladies, 33 to 11.

The Ladies opened the second half with a much stronger intensity, led by Sanders' dominate force inside. After NSU hit consecutive shots for five unanswered points, Centenary made a run of its own, the best yet, an 11-0 run to pull within 14 at 64-50. Sanders scored 10 and Shamblin added five in the opening eight minutes of play. Centenary held NSU scoreless for three minutes during the run.

After a Daniel three, NSU scored 10 straight to regain a solid lead at 80-53 before Sanders' jumper ended the quick run.

Northwestern State continued to score after taking a convincing lead late in the game. Sharp-Moore and Warr added five straight for the Ladies with just under six minutes to play.

Centenary shot 40 percent on the evening with a 25-of-63 effort, while NSU finished at 52 percent (43-82). Trudy Armstead led NSU with 25 points.

Second year head coach Kristen Davis is a 2006 graduate of Northwestern State and was a member of the Lady Demon basketball squad, while assistant coach Layne Huckabay joined the Centenary staff after serving as an assistant at NSU last year.

Centenary will open ASC play on the road on Saturday when it travels to UT-Dallas for a 1 pm matchup.