12th-ranked Lady Wolves avoid Southwest’ s upset bid

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

WESSON — Archrival Southwest Mississippi Community College hadthe Co-Lin Lady Wolves on the ropes Thursday night, ready todeliver a knockout punch. Oops. Southwest suffered a turnover with3.1 seconds left to play and the Lady Bears absorbed aheart-breaking 66-65 loss to the No. 12, nationally-ranked Co-Linsquad.

The Lady Wolves (12-1, 2-0) had taken a 6-point, 66-60 lead on ashort jumper by Whitney Scott following a steal by Nikki Williamswith 55 seconds left to play. They proceeded to miss the front endof two 1-and-1s while Southwest was getting a trey from PheniciaTaylor and a short jumper from Latasha Williams, reducing thedeficit to 1 point.

“We had the ball with 11 seconds left to play and I thought surewe would get fouled,” said Southwest coach Mark Swindle. Instead hewatched his team turn the ball over.

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“We hung in there,” said Swindle, “and I’m proud of my girls.Co-Lin has a good team.”

Swindle said Co-Lin’s rebounding advantage was decisive. TheLady Wolves outrebounded Southwest 43-32, led by center EricaTrahan’s 11 boards. Kristin Ellis and Dominique Whitfield each had8 rebounds.

“We lost it on the boards,” said Swindle. “We wanted to keep 52(Trahan) and 23 (Whitfield) off the boards.”

The Lady Wolves also got an outstanding performance from reservepost Kristin Ellis, a 5-foot-10 freshman from Vicksburg. She scoreda team-leading 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, taking over whenTrahan encountered early foul trouble.

“Kristin Ellis had her best game,” said Co-Lin women’s coachGwyn Young. “I’m glad to win. Southwest played hard and never quit.I’m not pleased with our defense.”

Young said Ellis and other reserves provided quality minutesagainst Southwest. “Alicia Kennedy hit some big threes for us toget Southwest out of that zone defense. Alisha Mason gave us somegood minutes. Corissa Tillman did a good job on defense.”

In the first half, Co-Lin had forged a 9-point lead at 31-22when Ellis scored inside. But Southwest made a determined run andgained a 33-33 halftime deadlock when Taylor cashed in a 3-pointplay off an inbounds pass.

“When we got ahead, we didn’t execute very well,” said Young.”We made some bad decisions.”

Sparked by 6-1 freshman Camiel Gamble of Dexter, the Lady Bearsbuilt an 8-point lead at 47-39, with 14:18 left in the game. Co-Linrallied in the next 4 minutes and led 50-48 on a layup by CorissaTillman.

Co-Lin sophomore post Erica Trahan was held to 6 points bySouthwest. She finished with 11 rebounds.

“I had to step up and play defense and rebound better in thesecond half,” said Trahan. “My team needed me. Southwest was fastand we had to buckle down and work harder. They have improved a lotsince last year.”

Trahan complimented Co-Lin’s bench. “They gave us some goodhelp. Kristin did a good job when she took my place.”

Trahan pulled down a school-record 24 rebounds Monday nightagainst Pearl River.

Co-Lin playmaker Nikki Williams joined Ellis in double digitswith 11 points. She also had 5 assists and 5 steals.

The Lady Bears got a game-high 14 points from Taylor, a 5-7freshman from Summit (North Pike). Latasha Williams, a 5-7sophomore from Woodville, netted 13 points. Kimberly Griffin, a6-foot freshman from Woodville, tossed in 11 points .

Southwest (8-5, 0-2), still looking for its first South Divisionwin, hosts Pearl River Monday night. Co-Lin hosts East Central,starting at 6 p.m.