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Colonels stifle Falcons in 63-36 season-opening victory

Colonels stifle Falcons in 63-36 season-opening victory

DANVILLE, Ky. – Centre women's basketball put on a defensive clinic in their 2017-18 season opener Friday night, defeating Anderson by a 63-36 score in the Lee's Famous Recipe/Hampton Inn Classic in Alumni Gym.

In their first season-opening victory since the 2013-14 campaign, the Colonels (1-0) put the clamps down on the visiting Falcons (0-2). Anderson's 36 points were the fewest for a Centre opponent since a 67-34 win at Sewanee back on Jan. 4, 2013.

The Colonels and Falcons each struggled to score in the opening minutes of the game, and the score was tied at 7-7 more than halfway through the first quarter.

But Centre's defense locked in at that point, keeping Anderson off the board for more than seven minutes of game time spanning the first and second quarters, allowing for a 12-0 run.

Anderson finished the half with only three made field goals, and wound up with more turnovers (14) than field goal attempts (13) thanks to Centre's pressure.

The Colonels would find their own offensive rhythm on the other end, outscoring the Falcons by a 26-6 tally from the initial 7-7 first-quarter tie until the halftime horn sounded.

The home side shot an even 50 percent (13-26) from the field in the opening half, and were well-balanced in scoring with senior Paige Kellam (Hebron, Ky.), junior Madison Rice (Knoxville, Tenn.) and sophomore Kat Wilson (Suwanee, Ga.) each netting seven points.

Centre kept it up for the final 20 minutes, essentially cruising to a victory in front of the Alumni Gym crowd as 12 different Colonels got on the board.

The Colonels hit three of their six 3-pointers in the final frame, and wound up with a 23-for-53 (43.4%) overall mark from the field for the game.

Rice totaled a career-best 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting (including three triples), adding four rebounds and a steal.

Junior Cheyenne Bunner (Mars Hill, N.C.) was second on the squad with eight points, as Kellam, Wilson and freshman Madison Marcum (Cincinnati) followed with seven apiece.

Junior Abigail Stewart (LaGrange, Ky.) led Centre with five rebounds, chipping in a block, steal, assist and six points, as well.

Senior Olivia Schad (Cincinnati) led Centre's defensive efforts with three of the team's 13 steals, helping force many of Anderson's 25 total turnovers.

In the post, Centre outrebounded Anderson 31-26 – including nine offensive boards – and finished with a 32-12 advantage for points in the paint.

The Classic continues tomorrow, with action between Anderson and Sewanee tipping things off at 1 p.m. ET. Centre versus Maryville will follow at 3 p.m. The Fighting Scots fell to the Sewanee Tigers 66-59 in the opening game of the Classic.