SHREVEPORT, La. – The LeTourneau University women’s basketball team would use a 15-2 surge to open up the second half to come away with a 64-54 road victory over Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday, December 7th.
The victory moves LETU to 2-5 overall while the Ladies fell to 1-6 overall with the loss.
A tightly contested first quarter would see three changes as neither team would be able to open up a lead of more than six points with contrasting approaches used. After the Ladies would take a 2-1 lead on an Ethany Cosby layup, LeTourneau would use a 9-2 run capped off by a pair of Alexandria Thorne jumpers to open up their largest lead of the first quarter at 10-4. Free throw shooting would keep Centenary within striking distance of LETU as three free throws brought the game back to a single possession. An Ashley Reed layup gave the YellowJackets breathing room heading into the final two minutes of the quarter, but a 10-4 run by Centenary thanks in part to efficient shooting gave the Ladies a 17-16 lead following the opening 10 minutes of play.
LeTourneau wouldn’t wait long to reclaim the lead in the second quarter, using a junior Karley Patterson jumper and Reed layup to hold a 20-17 lead just 25 seconds. A pesky Ladies team would manage to keep the game close heading into the final five minutes of the first half when LETU would make their move by hitting six free throws and an Olivia Eweni jumper to open up a nine-point lead at 33-24 with 2:21 remaining in the period. The nine-point lead would dwindle down to five at the half after Centenary would score the final four points of the half as LeTourneau would manage to hit 12 shots from the field and outrebound Centenary College by a 21-19 margin.
Things would be all LETU in the third quarter with the YellowJackets scoring 15 of the initial 17 points in the period with an emphasis on defense along with scoring points in the paint on the offensive side of things. Centenary College would go the opening 2:13 of the second half without scoring before going 5:05 without scoring another point which allowed LETU to take their largest lead of the game at 51-32 with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. Two layups for the Ladies cut the YellowJacket lead down to 51-36 heading into the fourth quarter as Reed would see a 30-foot three as time expired go off the backboard and rattle off the rim.
Centenary made sure that what transpired in the third quarter would not happen again in the fourth quarter as the first eight points of the quarter went to the Ladies to cut the once double-digit LETU lead down to seven heading into the final 6:21 of regulation. Freshman Keauna Whitfield would manage to end the LeTourneau scoring drought with a runner just outside the paint and push the lead back out to 53-44 before hitting a free throw on the next trip down the floor to give LETU a double-digit lead once again. Centenary would respond with a pair of free throws to pull within eight with just under three minutes remaining when Whitfield would hit a three before a defensive stop, and Savannah Cummings layup put the game out of reach for the Ladies.
“We tried to continue the energy out of the locker room at halftime, and I’m proud of our girls for putting it into action,” said head coach Cassi Rozanski in a post-game interview. “I think if we continue to fix the small things like make our free throws, then we will become a tough team beat throughout the season.” “I’m excited that finals and school are done for the semester as this weekend will give us a lot of time to come together as a family and grow together as a team.”
LETU managed to 22-60 (36.7 percent) from the field while hitting five of 18 (27.8 percent) of their three’s with four of the five triples coming in the second half. Rebounding was about as close as things could get with LeTourneau holding a 42-41 advantage on the glass while taking advantage of 18 Centenary turnovers for 17 points.
Reed led all scorers with 17 points in the game while also pulling in five rebounds and recording three steals. Whitfield also found herself in double-figures with 13 points and was just two rebounds shy of a double-double with eight while Oweni managed to score seven points. Jasmine Morris, who scored 14 points, led Centenary College.
The season-long six-game road trip continues on Saturday for LeTourneau with a return to American Southwest Conference action at Sul Ross State University on December 9th. Tip-off is 2:00 p.m. against the Lobos.
Sports Information Director