Colonels fall 80-79 in overtime to No. 17 Thomas More
The Centre women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a hard-fought 80-79 overtime game to No. 17 Thomas More College on Tuesday at Alumni Gymnasium in Danville, Ky.
The game went back and forth throughout with 12 ties and 11 lead changes, five of those ties and four of the lead changes coming in overtime. Centre went up by as many as three points in the overtime period after a pair of free throws by Chelsea Benham (Taswell, Ind.) put the Colonels up 75-72 at the 2:48 mark.
A 3-pointer by Allison Long, who had already sank a three at the buzzer in regulation to send the game to overtime, knotted the score at 75, and the Saints went up 77-75 on two free throws. On the other end, Benham tied the score with a layup with 55 seconds to go, and Maggie Hartlage (Louisville, Ky.) gave Centre back the lead with a layup with 16 seconds to play.
Unfortunately for the Colonels, Katie Kitchen, who had given them trouble all night, got a layup and converted the free throw after being fouled with six seconds remaining. It was Kitchen's 39th point of the night and capped a 16-of-18 performance from the line. Benham drove the length of the floor, but her shot from the right side at the buzzer sailed long.
Though she came up empty on that shot, Benham and sophomore Paige Baechle (Gallatin, Tenn.) came through with strong performances picking up the offensive slack when leading scorer Maggie Prewitt (Mount Sterling, Ky.) got into early foul trouble and eventually fouled out late in regulation. Baechle scored 22 points to lead the Colonels, while Benham added 19 with 12 of those coming after the 3:00 mark in the second half. Those two tied with Lauren Huter for the team lead in rebounds with seven while Prewitt led the team with nine assists.
The first 40 minutes of the game had been nearly as tight as the overtime. Thomas More scored the first six points of the game, only to see Centre answer the next eight, and neither team would lead by more than five before the Saints took a 32-30 lead to the half. The Colonels went up by as many as 10 points after an 11-3 run with 8:41 to go in regulation, but Thomas More answered with a 12-2 run of its own to tie with five minutes to go. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way before Benham put Centre up 69-66 with a layup and free throw in the closing seconds before Long's desperation shot.
The teams shot relatively evenly from the field with Centre holding a slight edge at 43.9 percent (29-of-66) to Thomas More's 42.1 percent (24-of-57). Thomas More won the rebounding battle 40-35, but turned the ball over 25 times to Centre's 16.
The loss drops the Colonels to 3-1 on the year while Thomas More opens at 1-0. Centre is off nine days before opening its Southern Collegate Athletic Conference slate at Millsaps on Dec. 2.