Colonels' run ends with 71-61 loss to Carthage in Sweet Sixteen
The Colonels' NCAA Tournament run and season came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen as they fell 71-61 to Carthage College on Friday at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.
Despite a late surge in which senior point guard Maggie Prewitt (Mount Sterling, Ky) scored 16 points in just over two minutes, Centre had too much ground to make up after Carthage runs earlier in the half built the margin to as many as 22 points.
The Colonels, who shot 43 percent as a team for the season, struggled from the field against Carthage, shooting 31.3 percent (21-of-67) for the game and just 28.9 percent (11-of-38) in the second half as Carthage built its lead. Carthage, on the other hand, shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) overall and 64 percent (16-of-25) in the second half.
Centre led 29-28 with two minutes left in the first half, but it was almost all Carthage from that point. Carthage scored the final six points of the half to take a 34-29 lead to the break, then quickly built it to double digits when Dani Ripke sank two 3-pointers to open the second half.
Centre was able to keep the margin around the 10-point range until just inside nine minutes when Carthage went on a 12-0 run to take its biggest lead at 65-43. During the stretch, Centre went scoreless for four minutes while Carthage scored on five straight possessions with Cailee Corcoran getting eight of her team-high 24 points.
It was at that point when Centre made a final push, beginning with a Lauren Huter (Louisville, Ky.) layup that made the score 65-45 with 4:43 to play. Prewitt then sank a pair of 3-pointers, converted a steal into a layup and scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to 65-55 with 2:20 to play. In all, Prewitt scored Centre's final 16 points over the span of 2:34, but it was not enough as the Colonels would get no closer than 10 points.
Before Carthage grew its first lead, the first half had been back and forth with two ties and nine lead changes. Centre had led by as many as seven points at 11-4 before Carthage came back with a 10-0 run.
Prewitt tied a game-high with 24 points while adding six rebounds and four assists. She also made five steals which helped her move to first place on Centre's career steals list. She finishes her career third on the school's all-time scoring list while also holding career records for assists, 3-pointers made and free throw percentage.
Also reaching a career milestone was Huter, who pulled down five rebounds, allowing her to move past head coach Wendie Austin-Robinson for first place on the school's career rebounding list.
The Colonels finish the season at 26-4, three wins better than the previous school record of 23, which had been reached three times. Carthage advances to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history where it will meet Illinois Wesleyan, a 70-69 winner over host school Mount Union in Friday's second game.