CENTRAL, S.C. – Southern Wesleyan women's basketball kicked off the season on Friday night with a 71-56 win over Columbia International in the second game of the FCA Tip-Off Classic held at SWU's Tysinger Gymnasium. Emmanuel (GA) defeated Morris College 96-59 in the day's first game.
The Warriors (1-0) overcame a slow start, trailing for most of the game's first 10 minutes. A three-point play from Bri Seda at 9:35 remaining in the half gave the Warriors the lead for good at 17-15. The offense and Seda got rolling. The senior guard scored 12 of her game-high 15 points in the first half as the Warriors overcame a poor shooting night with timely shooting and solid defense.
SWU shot just 35.5 percent from the floor overall and connected on only 5-of-26 from beyond the arc but forced 23 Ram turnovers which led to 26 points for the Warriors. CIU shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half but just 37.5 percent in the second as the Warriors pushed the lead out to as much as 17 late in the second half.
Christiana Perkins and Chelsie Waters joined Seda in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Waters knocked down 6-of-8 from the free throw line to combat a 2-for-11 shooting day while Perkins hit 3-of-7 from the charity stripe and 4-for-10 from the floor. She did make one of the team's five three-pointers and led the team with seven rebounds, six assists and also contributed three steals and a block in an all-around performance. Waters added a team-high four steals, five assists and four rebounds.
The Warriors led 31-25 at halftime after Aaliyah Knox made a jumper just before the end of the half for the Rams. Another jumper, this time from Raven Fleming cut the Warriors lead to 31-27 just 20 seconds into the second half. A 7-0 run pushed the lead back out to a comfortable 11 points. SWU kept the lead near double figures for most of the of the second half as the team hit four of their five three's in the second half. Brooke Strickland connected on both her made triples in the second half and finished the game with eight points.
A 10-2 run midway through the half ended any chance for the Rams to pull the upset as CIU never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way. Kristen Smith's jumper with 2:37 to go gave the Warriors their largest lead at 66-49. Smith scored six points, part of SWU's 25 bench points. All 10 players that saw the court scored for the Warriors.
The Warriors will have a short turnaround as they get back to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. as they host Morris College in the finale of the FCA Tip-Off Classic. Emmanuel and Columbia International will get Saturday started at 1 p.m.