The Centre College women ended their season Friday night with a 69-68 overtime loss to Hendrix in the first round of the Southern Athletic Association tournament at Jackson, Miss.
Hendrix’s Estrella Jones made one of three free throws with seven seconds remaining in overtime to break a 68-all tie. Centre’s Chelsea Benham rebounded Jones’ second miss but turned the ball over with four seconds left.
“It was a very hard-fought game, a game of runs by both teams,” Centre coach Wendie Austin-Robinson said. “We just could not get in a rhythm and ever get more than two possessions ahead.”
Third-seeded Centre (14-11) fell to sixth-seeded Hendrix (5-21) seven days after the Colonels completed a regular-season sweep with a 78-56 road win.
Benham’s layup with five seconds left in regulation forced overtime as third-seeded Centre finished the second half with a 7-1 run.
No. 6 seed Hendrix took a 65-62 lead in overtime with three free throws, but the Warriors left the door open for the Colonels by making just five of nine foul shots in the extra period.
Baskets by Jenna Mire and Maggie Hartlage gave Centre a 66-65 lead with 1:55 remaining, but the Colonels scored only once more, as a basket by Benham tied the game at 68-all with 22 seconds to go.
The Colonels went 3 for 5 from the field in overtime but also committed three turnovers, and they had 20 turnovers in all.
Hartlage led Centre with 14 points, Benham scored 12 and Alexis Guy had 11 off the bench, but leading scorer Paige Baechle was held to six points, far below her average of 18.6 points per game.
The Colonels shot 44 percent from the field but were just 3 for 21 from 3-point range. They were also outscored at the foul line, where they were 11 for 15 and the Warriors were 20 for 29.
“We shot very poorly from 3-point range, which was tough for us. They sat in a zone most of the game, and we all knew that was kind of our Achilles heel,” Austin-Robinson said.
Neither team led by more than six points in regulation. Hendrix led 61-55 with 3:19 left in the second half before Centre rallied.
Benham had nine rebounds, and Baechle and Hartlage had eight each for the Colonels, who entered the tournament with a six-game winning streak and wins in 11 of their last 12 games.
“I’m very proud of this team to come from what they did at the beginning of the year. I could never be prouder of a team for making the improvements this team did,” Austin-Robinson said. “They really turned it around after Christmas and had a great January and February. I’m just disappointed we couldn’t make a better run in the conference tournament.”
Flores scored 15 points for Hendrix, which lost its first 18 games.
HENDRIX 69, CENTRE 68, OT
Southern Athletic Association Tournament
At Jackson, Miss.
Katy Gallien 3-5 2-3 8, Katie Coughran 3-9 3-4 9, Jamie Tate 4-13 0-0 8, Caitlin Kriesel-Bigler 3-4 0-0 6, Kati Broberg 2-4 0-0 6, Estrella Flores 3-3 7-10 15, Lindsay Dirllette 2-6 0-0 5, Kaitlin McNeill 2-5 8-12 12. Totals 22-59 20-29 69.
Chelsea Benham 6-11 0-0 12, Paige Baechle 3-6 0-0 6, Bridget Winstead 1-6 1-2 4, Maggie Hartlage 6-11 2-2 14, Jenna Mire 3-7 0-0 7, Hillary Moore 1-4 5-6 8, Mary Winstead 0-4 0-0 0, Alexis Guy 5-11 1-2 11, Mary Stough 2-2 2-3 6. Totals 27-62 11-15 68.
Halftime—Hendrix 32-30. End of Regulation—Tied at 62. 3-Point Goals—Hendrix 5-16 (Tate 0-1, Kriesel-Bigler 0-6, Broberg 2-3, Flores 2-2, Dirllette 1-4), Centre 3-21 (B. Winstead 1-6, Hartlage 0-1, Mire 1-4, Moore 1-4, M. Winstead 0-4, Guy 0-2). Fouled Out—Baechle. Rebounds—Hendrix 39 (Tate 9), Centre 39 (Benham 9). Assists—Hendrix 6 (Kriesel-Bigler 2), Centre 12 (Hartlage, Mire 3). Total Fouls—Hendrix 17, Centre 18. A—200.