MARSHALL, Texas – Apparently, the home teams press played right into Ladies hands.
As soon as the Tigers applied the press in the third quarter, the Maroon and White took the lead for good with a 10-3 run and never looked back as Centenary (1-0) beat East Texas Baptist (0-1) 70-64 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night, November 15.
East Texas Baptist took its final lead at 4:49 left in the third at 43-42, but Centenary countered by beating the Tigers press. After getting the ball up the court, junior Peyton Hurst hit freshman Essa Badon for three. After a split from the line for the Tigers, sophomore Jasmine Morris broke the press and drove to the hoop for the bucket.
Morris led all scorers in the game with 19 points.
After East Texas Baptist cut the lead back to one, Badon hit another triple to put Centenary up four. Badon came off the bench for 10 points, including a 3-for-7 mark from behind the arc.
A jumper from senior Linda Gomez Gil capped the run, and the Maroon and White led 52-46 with 2:19 left in the third.
East Texas Baptist cut the deficit to two in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but seven unanswered pushed the Centenary lead to nine. Freshman Shreveport native Deunya Small, who easily led all rebounders with 20 boards, began the run with a fastbreak layup. After both teams traded empty possessions, Morris was left alone behind the arc for a hesitation three. After a steal, Small took it to the hoop for the score. Centenary led 63-54 with 5:37 left in the game.
The Maroon and White never led by four the rest of the way in the win.
Senior Deianna Hall, among the nation's leaders in made free throws last season, picked up where she left off with a 7-for-8 mark from the line. She finished with 15 points.
East Texas Baptist took a 17-10 lead early. Tied at seven, Hannah Holt hit a triple and Malaisia Chisholm hit a layup. After Badon's first three of the game, Kaitlyn Packett hit a triple and Amanda Wilson capped the run with a fastbreak jumper.
Lauren Lee led the home team with a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 boards. Holt and Chisholm added 11 points apiece.
Down 27-22 in the second quarter, Centenary used a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game. Hall made a pair of free throws, Badon split from the line, and Small tied it up with a layup. A layup by Hall put the visitors in the lead.
The teams were tied at 31 at the break.
The Ladies return to action Saturday, November 19 against Hendrix in the Southern Athletic Association-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Classic. Tip in Jackson, Mississippi, is set for 1 p.m.