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Central falls in closing seconds

Women's basketball | Jan. 13, 2010

Haley BrillhartMOUNT VERNON—Cornell College scored the game’s final six points and escaped with a 65-62 victory over the Central College women’s basketball team Wednesday night.

Cornell’s Camille Marie-Lidd hit a shot in the paint with just three seconds left to break a 62-62 tie. Central was whistled for a foul on the play and Marie-Lidd hit the free throw. A desperation Dutch 3-point shot at the buzzer missed the mark and they tumbled to 2-13 overall and 1-5 in league play.

That was despite continued progress from Central’s rapidly developing inside game. Forward Haley Brillhart (sophomore, Pella) was especially sharp with 19 points, six assists, a career-high five blocks, four steals and four rebounds. Meanwhile center Andrea Clark (junior, Guthrie Center), in just her third game of the season, added 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals. The inside tandem shot a combined 50 percent from the floor (10-20) and 91.6 percent from the free throw line (11-12).

“They’re a nice combination for us to have,” coach Jerry Nikkel said. “But we’ve got to get a little perimeter shooting to go with it.”

The Dutch sank 19-of-21 from the free throw line overall (90.5 percent) but connected on only 37 percent from the field. Central was also outrebounded 42-34.

Guard Ashley Gerst (senior, Columbus Junction, Wapello HS) had 12 points and three assists.

Cornell (7-7 overall, 2-3 conference) profited from a closing run in the first half as well. Central held a brief 29-21 lead with 1:55 left, only to have the Rams go on a 9-0 spree for a 30-29 halftime lead.

“We had too many missed opportunities,” Nikkel said. “We had way too many turnovers (22). We had big lapses. We’d have 3-4 minutes I thought we played really well, and then we’d have 4-5 minutes where we’d let down. It’s frustrating.”

Central will strive for a more complete effort at home Saturday, taking on Luther College in a league women’s-men’s doubleheader. The women’s contest starts at 4 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gym with the men’s contest at 6 p.m. The games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1). The broadcast, video Webcast and live stats can be accessed at www.central.edu/athletics.

Luther was stymied at home by Dubuque Wednesday night, 60-46, dropping to 6-8 overall and 1-4 in the league.

Central College