Centre women optimistic after 1-1 start in tourney

November 21, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

The Centre College women may have run out of gas Saturday, but they did plenty in their two games this weekend to fuel optimism about the season that just got under way.

The Colonels finished 1-1 in their season-opening Country Hearth Inn/Lee's Famous Recipe Tournament after a 60-50 loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor in the championship game Saturday at Alumni Gymnasium.

And though they faded in the final minutes of the game, coach Jennifer Ruff-Osborne said she was pleased with what she saw of her young team in its first two games.

"A lot of good things came out of this weekend," Ruff-Osborne said. "There were more positives than negatives."

Six freshmen were among the nine Centre players in uniform this weekend, and that means there are sure to be some growing pains. But Ruff-Osborne said she was pleased with the effort in both games.


There just wasn't much left in the tank by late Saturday afternoon, when Centre was wrapping up its second game in 22 hours. The Colonels went just 1-for-11 from the field in the last seven minutes, when they were outscored 15-4.

"Some fresh legs would've helped us," Ruff-Osborne said. "In the second half everything was short."

Meanwhile, Mary Hardin-Baylor (2-0) pushed around the tiring Colonels in the paint.

"We wanted to mix it up in the paint, but we didn't have the strength their juniors and seniors have," Ruff-Osborne said.

Lots of turnovers

A high turnover total also hurt. Centre had 21 turnovers Friday night in its 66-50 win over Earlham, and the Colonels committed 24 Saturday.

"The turnovers (Friday) night were our own fault - we had some new players who were getting used to each other - but the turnovers today were fatigue," Ruff-Osborne said.

Both of Centre's opponents also had plenty of turnovers thanks to the Colonels' defense, which forced 24 turnovers Friday and 23 on Saturday.

Mary Hardin-Baylor committed eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the second half, allowing Centre to regain the lead after the Colonels had trailed by as many as seven points late in the first half.

"I'm real pleased with the way we fought back," Ruff-Osborne said.

But their largest lead was just three points - 42-39 with 10:13 remaining - thanks their own poor shooting. They shot just 18 percent (5-for-27) in the second half after shooting 50 percent in the first.

"We didn't really capitalize on those turnovers," Ruff-Osborne said.

Mary Hardin-Baylor took the lead for good with 6:06 remaining on its fifth consecutive basket in the paint.

Chelsea Wessel, who led Centre with 17 points, got the Colonels' final field goal with 5:17 to play.

Wessel and freshman Sarah Sheeran represented Centre on the all-tournament team. Wessel had 29 points, four assists and four steals in two games, while Sheeran had 30 points and 11 rebounds.

Other freshmen also made an impact for the Colonels. Jayme Davis had 10 rebounds Saturday for a total of 18, Lauren Clontz had 12 points Friday and seven rebounds Saturday, and Danville native Monica Vonderbrink totaled 11 points and three steals.

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