Colonels defeat Millsaps 60-48, win fifth SCAC Tournament title
The Centre women's basketball team secured its place in the 2011-12 Division III NCAA Tournament with a 60-48 win over the Millsaps Majors in the finals of the SCAC Tournament. It is the fifth SCAC Tournament victory in program history and the Colonels' first since the 2000-01 season.
The Colonels shot 42.1 percent from three-point range for the game, including 60 percent in the second half, while holding Millsaps to just 19 percent. Another area where Centre held a significant advantage over the Majors was at the free throw line. The Colonels were 14-17 from the charity stripe in the tournament final while Millsaps only managed to get to the line six times.
Centre also outrebounded Millsaps 36-34, a significant feat considering how effectively Millsaps had rebounded in their quarterfinal and semifinal games. Finally, in another sign of Centre's stifling defense, the Colonels forced 13 Millsaps turnovers while only allowing eight assists.
Individually, Centre was led by senior Maggie Prewitt (Mount Sterling, Ky.), who scored 14 points, dished out four assists and recorded four steals. Prewitt, who won her second consecutive SCAC Player of the Year Award on Saturday, averaged 17 points per game in the three tournament games and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore Paige Baechle (Gallatin, Tenn.) scored 12 points against Millsaps and was also named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging eight points and nine rebounds for the tournament. Junior Chelsea Benham (Taswell, Ind.) added 12 points and eight rebounds for Centre.
The Colonels and Majors traded baskets for the first ten minutes of the ballgame. After freshman Maggie Hartlage (Louisville, Ky.) assisted on a jumper by Baechle at the 10:58 mark, Centre would never trail again. Millsaps cut the Centre lead to three on three separate occasions, but free throws by Benham and a three-pointer by junior Jenna Mire (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended the lead to six.
A basket by senior Cailynn West (Los Angeles, Calif.) and a three by junior Bridget Winstead (Franklin, Tenn.) gave the Colonels a cushion and a free throw by Mire put Centre ahead by eight points as the two teams went to the locker room at the half.
The Majors quickly jumped out of the gate with a 7-2 run to begin the second half that cut the lead to 33-31, but a three-pointer by senior Jane Goatley (Springfield, Ky.) helped give Centre a bit of breathing room. Millsaps again cut the lead to two points at the 13:15 mark, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way, as Baechle hit two free throws and senior Lauren Huter (Louisville, Ky.) scored to give Centre a 45-39 lead.
Then, with the Colonels leading 45-41, Prewitt bookended an 8-0 run with a three-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play to put Centre up by double digits and effectively put the game away. The Colonels led by as many as 15 points late in the second half before a layup by Baechle provided the final 60-48 margin.
The Centre women's basketball team ended its regular season with a record of 24-3, the highest winning percentage in program history. On Monday, the Colonels will find out who and where they will play in the NCAA Tournament.