By: John Lewandowski/ULM Athletics
MONROE, La. – ULM scored the first 21 points of the game while holding NCAA Division III Centenary scoreless for the first 6:20 as the Warhawks cruised to a 103-28 win Monday before an Education Day crowd of 5,015 in Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The 75-point margin of victory set a school record, breaking the previous spread of 67 points in a 97-30 win over New Orleans in the 2010-11 season opener, while ULM eclipsed the century mark for the first time since Dec. 13, 1997, against Grambling (101-75).
The 28 points allowed also tied the school’s single-game record as ULM defeated Tulane, 71-28, on Feb. 6, 1976, in the LSU Tournament in Baton Rouge.
“How about this crowd? This crowd was special,” ULM Brooks Donald Williams said. “This is one of my favorite games of the year when we have so many kids from our local community and region that get to come out and see our women’s basketball team play and see the ULM campus. Today was really, really special because the turnout was remarkable.
“With the 50th anniversary of Title IX, this year it’s a special year for female sports. What better way to honor Title IX and those that came before us than by touching young people’s hearts. And that’s what we talked about before today’s game, we knew that we had a lot of little eyes on us today … how we huddled, how we reacted when we made or missed a shot. Those things matter so much on how we can affect the younger generation. This was a special day to do that in front of this really incredible crowd.”
Fifteen players saw action for the Warhawks and all scored at least one field goal. Three players posted double figures, led by Sarah Adams, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter while hitting 4-of-5 field-goal attempts, including 2-of-2 3-pointers. ULM (2-1) also got 10 points each from Katlyn Manuel and Kierra Brimzy, who shot a combined 10-of-11 from the floor.
“Sarah is just a phenomenal person and basketball player,” Williams said. “We’re excited about her getting the opportunity to play extended minutes today. She comes out to work hard at practice every day, So, we’re excited that everybody got minutes today. We had production from our entire bench, and that’s why it was a huge team win.
“You look at the stat sheet and almost everybody played double-digit minutes, except Katlyn Manuel, who still had 10 points in the first half. Katlyn played 40 minutes Sunday against Louisiana Tech, so we wanted to try and give her a little breathing room heading into Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas.”
Emma Merriweather played 18 minutes off the bench and contributed four points, a game-high 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“A lot of players got quality minutes, and that’s what we really wanted,” Williams said. “Emma (Merriweather) needs to be in the game and to get her feet wet. Sha’Miya Butler needs minutes as does Diamond Brooks and Jada Anderson. Those are players that have been on the IR (injured reserved) that needed playing time today, and I thought we got some really productive minutes from everybody on our team.”
Brailey Major, who hit 2-of-3 3s, led Centenary with eight points.
For the game, ULM shot 52 percent (42-of-81) from the field, including 5-of-11 3-pointers (46 percent), while limiting Centenary to 20 percent (10-of-50) field-goal shooting. The Warhawks, who outrebounded the Ladies, 50-38, held the visitors to single-digit points in three of the four quarters.
ULM held a decided advantage in points off turnovers, 44-2; points in the paint, 70-10; second-chance points, 16-2; fast-break points, 25-6; and bench points, 62-8.
The Warhawks seized control in the first quarter, reeling of 21 consecutive points, while Centenary misfired on its first nine field-goal attempts, missed a pair of free throws and committed eight turnovers. Lauren Castillo converted a layup off a turnover to put the Ladies on the scoreboard with 3:40 on the clock. ULM led 33-6 at the end of the first period.
ULM outscored Centenary, 26-5, in the second quarter and led 59-11 at the intermission. All 10 of Manuel’s points came in the first half.
The Warhawks reached the century mark (100-26) on Adams’ steal and fast-break layup with 2:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws from Bre Sutton gave ULM its largest lead at 102-26 with 2:41 on the clock.
ULM concludes its season-opening four-game homestand against Central Arkansas on Saturday, Nov. 19, with tipoff set for noon.
“We’ll have a day off tomorrow, then we go back to work on Thursday to prepare for a tough Central Arkansas team,” Williams said.