The Centre women’s basketball team held a 40-25 rebounding edge while the Colonels’ starting forwards combined for 31 points and 12 boards to pace Centre to a 65-62 victory over visiting Sewanee in its Southern Athletic Association (SAA) opener on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Colonels improve to 2-5 on the season and 1-0 in SAA play, while the Tigers drop to 2-5 and 0-1, respectively.

Sophomore forward Day Vance (Knoxville, Tenn.) tallied a career-high 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go with a game-high seven boards, while fellow sophomore forward Abigail Stewart (LaGrange, Ky.) added 14 points connecting on 5-of-9 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws to go with five rebounds for Centre.

With the score knotted at 7-7 in the first quarter, Sewanee used a 12-3 run into the second period to gain its largest lead of the afternoon at 19-10 with 9:35 to play in the first half.

The Tigers held an eight-point edge at 25-17 midway through the stanza when the Colonels closed the half with a 9-2 surge capped by a jumper from the free throw line by junior guard Olivia Schad (Cincinnati, Ohio) at the buzzer to shrink the Sewanee lead to 27-26 at the break.

Sophomore guard Lakken Miller (Liberty, Ky.) knocked down a 3-pointer to open the second half to give Centre their first lead since early in the first quarter at 29-27.

A back-and-forth third quarter ultimately led to a 44-44 tie between the two teams at the end of the period. Neither team led by more than three points in the third frame.

With the score knotted at 48-48 early in the fourth quarter, Miller drained a 3-pointer off the assist by Stewart to put the Colonels on top 51-48, before the Tigers responded with seven straight points to grab a 55-51 advantage with 5:43 showing on the clock.

Centre would answer with a 9-2 run ignited by a Schad jumper and a 3-pointer by freshman guard Ami Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) as the Colonels took a 60-57 lead over Sewanee with 2:18 remaining.

Corey Caulder connected on a 3-pointer on the other end for the Tigers to even the game at 60-60, when Centre scored five consecutive points with a Vance layup and a 3-pointer by senior guard Caroline Andreassen (Kenosha, Wis.) to give Centre a 65-60 advantage with 49 ticks to play.

Sewanee’s Bella Taylor made a jumper on the other end to minimize the deficit to 65-62 with 33 seconds remaining.

The Colonels would drain the clock down to nine seconds left before a missed jump shot gave the Tigers a chance to knot the game in the closing seconds, but Sue Kim’s 3-point heave was off the mark as Centre earned the triumph in its conference opener.

Miller finished with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beind the arc. Andreassen had seven points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Schad chipped in six markers, four boards and six helpers.

Caulder and Taylor paced the Tigers with 15 points apiece followed by Savannah Rose with 14 points and Hannah McCormack with 10 points.

The Colonels shot 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field, 50.0 percent (6-of-12) from downtown and 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from the charity stripe.

Centre held a 30-24 advantage in points in the paint in addition to its rebounding margin of plus-
15. The Colonels recorded 20 assists on 24 made baskets.

All told, the game saw 10 ties and 16 lead changes.

Centre has a 12-day break before returning to action on the road at Maryville (Tenn.) on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. ET.

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