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Southwest stops Lady Wolves, ends domination

SUMMIT — It was a living nightmare most basketball coachesendure some time during their careers. Coach Mark Swindle watched a21-point lead nearly vanish but his Southwest Mississippi CommunityCollege Lady Bears refused to fold and they defeated archrivalCo-Lin 67-58 Thursday night in a South Division showdown.

For the long-suffering Southwest fans, it was Swindle’s firstwin over Co-Lin since the 2001-02 campaign when the Lady Wolvesfell in Horace C. Holmes Gymnasium.

“It seemed like an eternity when we were stuck on 61 points,”said Swindle. He saw his team leading No. 17-ranked Co-Lin 61-40with 6:36 left to play. Southwest guard Whitley Wiltz hit a shortjumper off an assist from Erin Brabham.

The Lady Wolves (10-2, 1-1) launched a spirited rally andreduced their deficit to 7 points, 61-54, on a free throw byTeAirra Wilbert with 2:22 showing. It capped a 14-0 Co-Lin run in ahustling, 4-minute, 14-second surge.

Salvation arrived when Southwest (10-1, 2-0) entered the freethrow bonus and pencil-thin guard Phenicia Taylor hit a pair offreebies, halting the tailspin. Wiltz went 4-for-4 at the charityline in the final 2 minutes and the long-awaited victory wassecured.

Swindle’s Lady Bears had dueled Co-Lin in many classic strugglessince he took over the women’s program in 2000. Victories had beenrare.

“We had some good spurts tonight and Co-Lin only had a few,”said Swindle. His daughter, Hope, sacked 3 straight treys duringthe second-half offensive.

Wiltz, a 5-10 sophomore from Lafayette, La., led all scorerswith 17 points, going 9-for-9 at the free throw line. KimberlyGriffin, a 6-foot sophomore from Woodville, was a force inside,collecting 12 points and 10 rebounds as Southwest outreboundedCo-Lin 38-28.

Swindle, a 5-8 freshman, finished with 12 points. Taylor, asophomore guard from Summit (North Pike), netted 11 points and 8rebounds.

By contrast, Co-Lin’s leading scorer, Reisha Bullock (14.2 ppg),went scoreless. Teammate Alisha Mason ( 9 ppg) was limited to 2points. Mason was in early foul trouble and fouled out with 1:54left to play.

According to Co-Lin coach Gwyn Young, Bullock and Mason had aviolent head-to-head collision in practice Wednesday. Neitherplayer was at the top of their game last night.

“We tried to pay a lot of attention to Bullock,” said CoachSwindle. “She couldn’t buy one (field goal) tonight.”

Swindle’s Bears were able to overcome 18 second-halfturnovers.

Young complimented the victors. “Southwest was playing extremelyhard and we didn’t. They did some good things on offense and theyplayed good defense, too.”

Co-Lin got 13 points from from freshman guard Rhonda Dumas.Sophomore post Kristin Ellis had 12 points and 7 rebounds.

“When we got behind, we started playing selfish,” said Young.”We didn’t play as a team. Hopefully we can learn from this and getbetter.

“Southwest whipped us just about every way you can get whipped,”he added.

Co-Lin was a cold 35 percent from the field and just 45 percentat the free throw line. Southwest hit 45 percent of its field goalattempts and 84 percent at the charity line, making 21 of 25.

Co-Lin visits No. 13-ranked East Central Monday night atDecatur. Southwest plays at Meridian.