SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College women's basketball team held off a comeback bid and pulled away late, coasting to a 75-56 victory over Centenary College on Friday night to stay unbeaten in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play and take sole possession of first place in the league standings. The 'Roos are now 10-4 overall and 4-0 in the SCAC.
The 'Roos were sluggish coming out of the gate, as Centenary jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the first quarter. The 'Roos got on the board with a three point play from Kendall Heitmeier, and took their first lead after an Olivia Cicci three and an Olivia Bailey basket made it 10-9 with 4:59 left in the opening quarter. The Ladies would tie the game at 10, but Meghan Lewis scored to make it 12-10 with 4:32 left and Austin College would lead for the rest of the game.
After finishing the first quarter with a 17-14 lead, Austin College scored the first eight points of the second and a three from Kali Vittallo made it 25-14 with 8:04 on the clock. The 'Roos pushed their first half lead to as much as 19 on a Bryce Frank basket with 20 seconds left before halftime to make it 37-18, and the Ladies would score once more to make it 37-20 heading into the locker room.
Briana Edwards scored for Centenary to open up the second half, but a pair of three pointer from Caitlyn Collins helped push the Austin College lead to 49-22 with 5:01 left in the third quarter. Centenary finally got its offense going down the stretch in the third, but the 'Roos answered every basket by the Ladies and took a 53-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was in the fourth quarter that Centenary started to chip away at Austin College's lead, as the Ladies open the frame with a 10-0 run to cut it to a 53-45 game with 7:43 left in the game, but Vittallo swished a three from right in front of the Austin College bench to get the margin back to double-figures at 56-45 and Heitmeier scored eight quick points to extend Austin College's lead to 65-49 with 3:58 left to play. The lead grew to 21 on a three from Cicci to make it 75-54 with just under a minute to play, and two Centenary free throws would make it a 19 point final margin.
Heitmeier finished with a season-high 17 points and added four assists in the win, and Bailey chipped in 12 points, six rebounds, and five steals. Frank added 10 points, six rebounds, and a career-high five assists in the win.
Jasmine Morris scored 14 points, Savanah Doty added 11, and Edwards chipped in 10 points for Centenary.
Austin College will look to extend its four-game winning streak tomorrow when the 'Roos play host to Colorado College at 8:00 p.m. in Hughey Gym.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.