SHREVEPORT, La. – Sophomore Darelzray Bellard scored a collegiate high 18 points – including 12 in the third on 4-for-5 shooting from three – while the Ladies outscored the Crusaders 24-8 in the fourth to pull away in their Southern Collegiate Conference opener as Centenary (3-6, 1-0 SCAC) beat Dallas (0-8, 0-1 SCAC) 76-55 Tuesday afternoon, December 18.
With the Ladies trailing 41-36 with 4:26 remaining in the third, Bellard missed a three from the corner. However, Ashley Strawder pulled down the offensive board. Freshman Priya Ponia then hit Bellard, who squared up for a triple to cut the deficit to two. From there, Bellard stayed hot from behind the arc, hitting another three after a defensive stand to put Centenary in the lead. Dallas tied the game, but a jumper by sophomore Ashlynn Albert put the Ladies in front for good.
After Centenary forced a Dallas turnover, Albert hit Bellard for another three to cap a 11-1 run for the Ladies. Dallas answered with an old-fashioned three, but Bellard drained her fourth-straight triple to put Centenary up 50-45 with 2:05 left in the third.
For the second straight game, the Ladies outrebounded their opponents by more than 20. This time, the Ladies held a 49-28 edge in total rebounds, 18-7 in offensive rebounds, and 15-7 in second chance points.
The Ladies led by five going into the fourth quarter, but a 20-2 run in the first seven minutes of the quarter blew the game open. Sophomore Bre Frierson made a layup and jumper, while junior Deunya Small added a jumper to push the lead to double-digits. Dallas answered with a layup, but layups by Small and sophomore Haylee Washington pushed the lead to double-digits for good. Ponia hit a triple, Frierson made a layup, and Morris split from the charity stripe as the lead ballooned to 19 in a blink of an eye. Washington and Ponia hit layups to end the run.
Frierson added a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards. Ponia and Small came off the bench for 13 points each as the Ladies bench outscored the Crusaders 48-12.
After Centenary began the game with two foul shots after a Dallas technical foul, the Crusaders scored nine straight to lead 9-2 with 2:39 remaining in the first. However, a Ponia jumper ended the Centenary field goal drought. After a defensive stop, Frierson cleaned the offensive glass for a layup. Bellard and Small both hit a pair from the charity stripe to put Centenary in front. A jumper by Small followed by two Dallas free throws gave Centenary a slim 12-11 lead after one.
Dallas trailed 32-29 at halftime, but a 12-4 run to begin the third put the Crusaders up five. Vanessa Diaz made a layup and Breeona Cannon drained a three to put the Crusaders in the lead. With Dallas up 37-36, Cannon made a layup and two from the line by Faith Starnes gave the Crusaders their largest lead of the second half at 41-36.
Diaz led Dallas with 15 points and 10 boards, while Starnes added 11, making all six attempts from the charity stripe.
The win in its conference opener was the first for Centenary since the 2003-04 season (Mid-Continent Conference).
The Ladies put their three-game win streak on the line tomorrow when they host Trinity. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.