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Williams lifts Lady Wolves over Southwest in thriller

SUMMIT — Opportunity knocked and Co-Lin guard Nikki Williamsanswered, slamming the door on the Southwest Mississippi CommunityCollege Lady Bears. Williams swished a trey from the left side,lifting the Lady Wolves to a thrilling 58-55 Monday night win overSouthwest in Horace C. Holmes Gymnasium.

Williams sank her trey with 6.5 seconds left to play, helpingCo-Lin escape the jaws of defeat. The 5-foot-7 sophomore from WhiteCastle, La., led all scorers with 19 points, plus 8 rebounds and 6assists.

Co-Lin, ranked No. 10 in the nation, raised its record to 18-2overall and 8-1 in the South Division. Southwest fell to 12-8 and5-4, losing another heart-breaker to the archrival Lady Wolves whohad prevailed 66-65 Jan. 11, at Co-Lin.

“I had confidence to make that shot,” said Williams. “I had tomake it happen.”

After Co-Lin women’s coach Gwyn Young had called a timeout andhuddled with his team, the Lady Wolves inbounded the ball with 17.9seconds remaining. Williams got a screen from teammate DominiqueWhitfield and launched the winning shot. A desperation,long-distance, 3-pointer by Southwest’s Stacey Morris fell short ofthe goal as time expired.

“Any win on the road is a good win,” said Young. “Nikki made abig play.”

Young’s plan was to put the ball in the hands of either guardHanna Porter or Williams. Porter was covered by Southwestdefenders.

“My man (defender) wasn’t going to let me get the ball,” saidPorter. “D.D. (Whitfield) got the screen. I knew Nikki was going tomake it.”

Porter, a sophomore from Brandon (Northwest Rankin) whotransferred from the University of West Alabama University, givesCo-Lin another perimeter scoring threat. She said being No. 1 inthe South Division, makes Co-Lin a primary target every game.

“Everybody is playing their best game against us,” said Porter.”When we play our best game, we can beat anybody.”

Whitfield and center Erica Trahan were in early foul troubleagainst Southwest. Young got some strong bench play from freshmenAlisha Mason and Kristin Ellis. Mason poured in 14 points andgrabbed 6 rebounds. Ellis had 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Southwest coach Mark Swindle watched his Lady Bears overcome a6-point deficit, 32-26, when Porter and Williams sackedback-to-back treys early in the second half. Swindle’s team gaineda 55-55 deadlock on a steal and a layup by Phenicia Taylor, with 26seconds left in the game.

“You can’t leave their best shooter (Williams) open,” saidSwindle. “It was time to really guard (Co-Lin) and we didn’t getthe job done. We didn’t play well and we didn’t shoot the ballgood.”

Swindle’s team was led by Morris, a 5-11 freshman from McComb,who tossed in 13 points. Sophomore guard Latasha Williams ofWoodville finished with 12 points. Conceita Cutrer, a 5-6 sophomoreguard from Kentwood, La., had 11 points.

Co-Lin travels to East Central at Decatur Thursday night for aSouth Division test. Southwest is at Pearl River in Poplarville thesame night.