Colonels pull apart in loss

December 11, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Even when things go poorly, Centre College coach Jennifer Ruff expects her team to stick together. That didn't happen Wednesday night against Thomas More.

The Saints shot 70 percent on 3-pointers in the first half on the way to a 65-34 win over the Centre women.

"I don't think we stuck together as a team," Ruff said. "We hit a little adversity and kind of went off onto our own agenda. When things get tough, we have to stick together. We're kind of pulling apart a little. It kept piling on because we didn't stay together as a team."

The game was similar in score to Thomas More's 56-31 victory earlier this season, but it was won in a completely different fashion.


In that game, the Saints (6-2) outrebounded Centre (3-6) by 30 and drove to the basket at will to create a powerful offense. Centre had the rebounding edge Wednesday night, but Thomas More drove a stake through the Colonels' heart from outside.

Thomas More finished Wednesday's game with a 53 percent shooting mark on 3-pointers (10-for-19), but hit seven of 10 in the first half. Allison Byars was 4-for-5 for the game from behind the arc on the way to a game-high 14 points.

Three of Thomas More's first four baskets were 3-pointers - two from Byars - as the Saints had 11 points before Centre hit its first field goal. The Colonels missed their first 12 attempts from the floor and trailed 11-1 before Liz Braun scored with 12:24 to play in the first half.

"We missed some bunnies early, and that set the tone for the rest of the game," Ruff said. "Obviously we didn't shoot well, but Thomas More is a very good team. They're 6-2 for a reason.

"We really struggled to get in a flow offensively. We missed some layups and some easy offensive rebounds early on, and that set our tone for us a little bit as to how we'd play the game offensively."

The Colonels drew within 17-11 when freshman Casey Geiman hit two free throws with 6:49 to play in the first half, but Thomas More followed with three more 3-pointers and closed the half on a 15-3 run for a 32-14 lead at the break.

Thomas More didn't cool down much in the second half, starting off with a 24-6 run to take the lead out to 36 at 56-20 with 8:00 to play in the game. Centre got three points from Geiman and a basket each from Nessa Timoney and Virginia Lowery to draw within 29 at 56-27 with 5:47 to play, but could get no closer.

Centre won the rebounding battle 39-29 behind Geiman's 11 boards. Geiman, a 5-7 freshman guard, has at least tied for the team lead in rebounds in seven of the Colonels' nine games and is the third-leading rebounder in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference with nine per game.

"She's just a workhorse," Ruff said. "She just works hard all the time, every possession. That's a great attitude to have, and I wish we could get more people with that attitude on our team. She does a great job hustling and crashing the boards."

Centre did, however, also have nearly as many turnovers (32) as points (34).

"That was part of our struggle, getting it in offensively," Ruff said. "We just made some really bad passes under pressure."

Geiman led the team in scoring with nine points and Lowery added eight. Geiman also had a team-high four steals and had two of Centre's five assists.

The Colonels shot just 14-for-50 (5-for-23 in the first half) for 28 percent and missed all 12 of their 3-point shots. Thomas More finished 25-for-55 from the field for a 45.5 percent mark.

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