Posted: Jan 5, 2013 7:15 PM
FAYETTE, MO -- Raylyn Nuss celebrated her 22nd birthday Saturday with a season-high 19 points, and No. 25 Central Methodist University put the icing on the cake with a 69-53 women's basketball win against Avila University inside Puckett Field House.
Central Methodist (15-1, 4-1 Heart of America Athletic Conference) moved into a first-place tie in the league standings with No. 11 MidAmerica Nazarene courtesy of Culver-Stockton's victory against Baker and the Pioneers' defeat of No. 22 Benedictine. The Green and Black own the tie-breaker with MidAmerica Nazarene thanks to the Eagles' 10-point win over the Pioneers on December 8.
Nuss, who entered Saturday's game ranked sixth in NAIA Division I in three-point field goals made, blistered the net from behind the arc, hitting five three-pointers and six total shots from the field. She was also perfect (2-of-2) from the free throw line.
Avila (3-10, 2-3 HAAC) led 11-6 five minutes into the game before a Nuss trey ignited Central Methodist, which outscored Avila 19-2 in the final 9:32 of the opening frame. Avila went scoreless for a stretch of 9:15, and the Green and Black doubled up the visitors 34-17 at halftime.
Nuss, who scored eight straight Central Methodist points during a stretch in the second half, converted back-to-back treys to give the home team a 45-21 cushion with 15:23 on the clock.
Trailing by 23 points, Avila would not go away quietly, trimming the deficit to single digits, 62-53, following a baseline jumper by Courtney Gimlin, but Central Methodist's Kyra Williams sank a three-pointer from the top of the key on the next trip down the court, and the Green and Black locked down Avila for the final 2:34 of the game to preserve the victory.
Williams, Jasmine Poteete and Towanda Sutton finished with nine points apiece. Sammie Gathercole chipped in eight. Britney Joseph pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, as Central Methodist won the battle of the boards 46-35.
Jackie Wacha led Avila offensively with 16 points. Samantha York had nine.
Central Methodist shot 39.3-percent (24-of-61) from the floor, 41.7-percent (10-of-24) from behind the arc, and 84.6-percent (11-of-13) from the charity stripe.
Avila hit 33.3-percent (20-of-60) from the field but was held to 19-percent (4-of-21) from distance and 64.3-percent (9-of-14) from the free throw line.
Central Methodist deployed a full-court press midway through the first half which generated 12 steals and 22 fastbreak points in the game. The Green and Black outscored Avila 14-7 in second-chance points, and Central Methodist's bench outscored Avila's reserves 25-10.
Central Methodist hosts archrival Missouri Valley College for Staff Appreciation Night on Thursday, January 10. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. CT.