The Centre College women lost for the first time in 2 1/2 months as Birmingham-Southern dealt them a 72-60 defeat Friday night at Birmingham, Ala.
The loss was the first in conference play and only the second of the season for the Colonels, and it snapped a streak of 16 consecutive victories since a one-point overtime loss to Thomas More on Nov. 22.
The Panthers hit 12 of 22 shots from outside the arc and answered nearly every attempt by Centre to climb back into the game with a timely shot from outside.
Meanwhile, Centre shot just 36.8 percent from the field, well below its season mark of 44.9 percent.
“They had a well-executed game play. They didn’t let us get our shooting in rhythm like we wanted to, kind of forced us to beat them from the interior and took away what we like to do,” Centre coach Wendie Austin-Robinson said. “Our kids competed, and they played hard; we just didn’t play as well as we can and didn’t execute little things like we needed to.”
Maggie Prewitt led Centre with 19 points, but she was just 6 for 22 from the field, and none of the Colonels’ other guards had more than three points.
The Colonels went 15 for 32 from the field in the second half after a 6-for-25 first half, but the Panthers were 13 for 21 after halftime, including 6 for 9 on 3-point attempts.
“We shot poorly in the first half and came back and shot OK in the second half, but Birmingham-Southern shot extremely well in the second half, too, and we did not do a good job of defending the 3,” Austin-Robinson said. “We didn’t execute on the defensive end when we were struggling on the offensive end.”
Birmingham-Southern hit three 3-point shots and outscored Centre 16-4 over the first 4 minutes of the second half to take its largest lead at 42-23.
The Colonels cut the margin to 11 points with 10:10 remaining, only to surrender another 10-2 run that included a pair of 3-pointers and fall behind 58-39 with 8:31 left.
The Colonels got no closer than 14 points until the last 2 minutes, when they outscored the Panthers 9-0.
Reserve Paige Baechle scored 10 points for Centre. Chelsea Benham scored nine points but played only 18 minutes because she tweaked a previous knee injury.
Kristian Moody went 5 for 6 from 3-point range and scored 18 points to lead Birmingham-Southern, which lost 64-50 to Centre on Dec. 16 in Danville.
Centre still leads Millsaps and Rhodes, the teams it hosts in its final regular-season games next weekend, by two games in the SCAC¿East Division.
Birmingham-Southern 81, Centre 64 — No. 10 Birmingham-Southern (21-1, 13-1) avenged its only loss of the season, beating Centre (14-7, 8-5) with deadly 3-point shooting.
The Panthers, who are ranked No. 2 in NCAA¿Division III¿in 3-pointers made per game, went 12 for 21 from outside to hand the Colonels their worst loss of the season and avenge a 72-65 loss Dec. 16 in Danville.
“Southern is an oustanding basketball program. They’ve been good for a few years, and they were really good tonight,” Centre coach Greg Mason said. “They hit some tough ones. I don’t know if too many teams could’ve beaten them tonight, but at the same time we have to play better. We have to shoot better.”