If there was any doubt about whether Centre College would be too much for Sewanee, an early barrage of 3-point goals took care of that.
The Centre women extended their winning streak to 16 straight Saturday by beating Sewanee 81-49 at Alumni Gymnasium, thanks in part to a 19-8 surge to open the game that include five 3-point goals in the first 6 minutes.
Maggie Prewitt, Alyson Burke, Bridget Winstead and Maggie Hartlage all hit treys early in the game to stagger Sewanee. If that wasn’t enough, the knockout punch came on a 13-0 run to start the second half that included two more 3-pointers and allowed Centre to open a 50-26 advantage.
Overall, Centre was 11 for 20 from 3-point range. The Colonels (19-1, 12-0 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) also outrebounded Sewanee 38-26, forced 20 turnovers and limited the Tigers (9-11, 3-9) to 19-of-57 shooting, including 4 for 25 from 3-point range.
“It was a good start, but our downfall at times has been to relax and let teams stay in the game the first half ,and our forte has been making adjustments at halftime and coming back out to take control of the game,” Centre coach Wendie Austin-Robinson said. “All season we have been a better second-half team.
It was another win toward what Austin-Robinson hopes is a trip to the NCAA Division III tournament next month. The Colonels are 19th in the WBCA USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll and are No. 23 in the D3hoops.com poll. Centre’s only loss this season came in overtime on Nov. 22 to Thomas More, but the Colonels must win the SCAC tournament later this month to earn an automatic NCAA bid.
“We talk about that, but we try not to see it as pressure,” the Centre coach said. “I would like to assure ourselves an at-large bid (to the NCAA) if we do not win the conference tournament. The girls have embraced that and just want to keep competing and winning.
“There are no guarantees if you don’t win the conference tournament. If there are a lot of upsets (in conference tournaments), it could get kind of scary. We would just like to win out and take care of that.”
The Colonels opened a 30-15 lead in the first half and were on top 37-26 at halftime, thanks in large part again to Prewitt’s play. She had 11 points and four assists in 19 minutes. On the defensive end, she had six rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and drew one charge.
When she came out for good with almost 6 minutes to play, she had 13 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals and one block. Austin-Robinson would like to have seen Prewitt get her second triple-double, but she also kept what lies ahead for the Colonels in perspective.
“What if left her in and she got hurt? We had other players that deserved to play, too,” Austin-Robinson said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons on this team, but what is carrying us is they don’t care who shoots or scores points. And Maggie is that way, too.”
Chelsea Benham just missed a double-double with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds while Winstead had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and two assists. Twelve players scored and 12 had rebounds for the Colonels.
Centre had 20 turnovers, but only eight by the starters.
“It’s just good to be home and have a weekend with just one game. We are road-weary, and this rest is going to be good for us,” Austin-Robinson said.