Centre women complete comeback to stay unbeaten in SAA

Published 11:48 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Centre women’s basketball closed Alumni Weekend with a fourth-quarter rally Sunday to overcome Birmingham-Southern in the second meeting of the season between the two team. The Colonels remain undefeated at 9-0 in the Southern Athletic Association and move to 15-5 on the season.

Natalie Duggins opened the scoring with two made free-throws, kick starting a 13-3 scoring run by the first quarter’s media time-out. Entering the second period of play, Centre held a seven-point advantage over the visiting Panthers (12-8, 5-4).

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Midway through the quarter, Centre’s consistency extended their hold to 11. Out of the media time-out, Birmingham-Southern resurged with an 11-2 run, shrinking the score gap to just one possession. Entering the halftime break, the score sat at Centre 50, Birmingham-Southern 48.

Duggins, once again opened the quarters scoring, hitting a quick jumper in the paint. Answering quickly, the Panthers netted a quick lay-up, followed by a three that gave them the advantage. For the next six minutes, both teams exchanged a one-point lead. Birmingham-Southern hit a late three just before the Colonels committed a shooting foul from behind the arc. Making all three free-throws, the Panthers clutched their largest lead of the game.

Although down by six two minutes into the final period, Centre wouldn’t shy away from a fourth quarter revival. Katelyn Stilitner was the first Colonel to set-up to the challenge, netting seven consecutive points alone. Down by just one point, Bailey Rucker caused a turnover that set Payton Herold up for a fast break lay-up to take the lead.

In the final minutes, the Panthers, already in foul trouble, continuously put Centre at the charity line. Five made free-throws, paired with Rucker’s late lay-up solidified a 95-89 victory for the Colonels.

The Colonels had six players in the double digits. Natalie was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points. The junior added nine rebounds, three steals, a block, and one assist. Stiltner scored a season high of 15 points, 11 of which were essential baskets in the fourth quarter. She added six rebounds, a block, and a steal. Emma Rose Vincent and Rucker both had 13 points apiece. Herold was next with 12, followed by Taylor Garrett with ten points.   

The Colonels kept the Panthers to 35 percent from the field compared to their 50 percent and outrebounded Birmingham-Southern 52-37. The Colonels managed 12 second-chance points.

The Colonels will enter the final month of season by taking a trip to Memphis to play Rhodes on Friday.

Centre men fall to Birmingham-Southern

The Centre men’s basketball team couldn’t match the hot shooting of their previous two games as a slow start to the second half proved to be the biggest difference in a 73-59 loss Sunday to the visiting Birmingham-Southern Panthers.

Both offenses struggled in the early going as the Colonels (5-14, 2-7 SAA) took their first lead at 10-7 following consecutive threes by Drew Wilson and Cade Stinnett.

BSC (12-8, 5-4) retook the lead with a 9-0 run, but the Colonels battled back to regain the advantage as freshmen Hunter Coleman and Caleb Maul came off the bench to get some key baskets.

The game went back and forth for the rest of the half. Noah Ring banked in a three-pointer to put Centre up by one, but BSC responded with a three in the final minute and went into the locker room with a 30-28 lead.

The Panthers came out with a blitz to start the second half, outscoring the Colonels 21-4 over the first five minutes of the period. Centre was able to chip into the lead on layups by Maul and Stinnett, but BSC reinserted some of their starters into the game and extended the lead back to 20 as Centre could get no closer than 12 the rest of the way.

After shooting nearly 50 percent from three-point range in each of the last two games, the Colonels only managed 25 percent from long distance against the Panthers.

Eleven different Centre players scored, led by Marshall Taylor with 10 points and a career-high five steals.

The Colonels will go back on the road to open February, beginning with a trip to Rhodes on Feb. 3. The Colonels knocked off the Lynx 82-72 on Jan. 6.