Centenary Ladies, 12/19/2005
Centenary College, the smallest NCAA Division I school, has started the 2005-2006 slowly with a 1-7 record, losing to New Orleans, Arkansas-Little Rock, Northwestern State, Louisiana-Monroe, Jackson State, Georgia Southern and Stephen F. Austin. The lone victory was against Sam Houston State. Of their eight games, six have been played at home in Shreveport, La. After facing Purdue, the Ladies will take on either Mississippi State or Morehead State and Mississippi Valley State before beginning conference play.
Head Coach Elizabeth Wamsley begins her second year guiding the Ladies. She had previously served as an assistant during the 2003-2004 season. Coach Wamsley may be one of the youngest Division I head coaches in the nation, having graduated from Mississippi State University in 2001. Her teams at MSU advanced to one WNIT tournament and two NCAA tournaments.
Three players average double figures for the Ladies: junior guard/forward Holli Wilkins (12.6), senior guard/forward Van’esha Brabson (12.5) and senior guard Laura Kizyte (10.1). Sophomore guard Laura Way paces the team in rebounds at 5.0 per game, followed by Kizyte and freshman guard/forward Cierra Way at 4.4 per game. Kizyte also has 26 assists to pace the squad this year. The 5’9” Kizyte, a native of Lithuania, was named the Mid-Continent Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2004-2005, also sports the team’s best A:TO ratio at 26:24.
The Ladies enter the contest against Purdue with the following team statistics: 64.1 points per game (while allowing 76.2), 38.4% shooting from the field (while giving up 43.7%), 30.1% shooting from 3-point range (allowing 33.9%), 65.5% from the free throw line, 34.5 rebounds per game (while opponent grab 45.5) and 15.5 assists per game and 20 turnovers per game, a ratio that is slightly better than their opponents (15:20) -- which shows the Ladies can force their opponents into turnovers. More than one-third of the team’s field goal attempts come from 3-point range, but only one player shoots better than 35.0% from beyond the arc, sophomore guard Brittany Barbee, who also leads the team in field goal percentage at 47.4% and minutes per game at 35.8.
Of the 11 players listed on the Ladies roster, three are seniors, three are juniors, three are sophomores and two are freshmen. Only two players top 6’ (6’1” freshman Julia Bowie and 6’1” junior Karolina Sokalska – a native of Poland who transferred from James Madison University).
Centenary College has played at the Division I level since only the 1999-2000 season. The squad averages 394 fans per game at home, with a high of 1215 against Northwestern State. The Ladies played in front of a season high 4282 fans against Arkansas-Little Rock, losing the game 73-48.