Ashley Watts scored the first point. BreAsia Burns recorded the first field goal. And Paine’s HEAL Complex opener was a success Saturday.
Watts scored a game-high 23 points as the Lady Lions looked comfortable in their new digs, pounding Stillman, 64-44.
After playing its home games at Richmond Academy and practicing all over the city the past season and a half, Paine (3-8, 1-1 SIAC) returned back to campus to its new facility. Despite not practicing in its new 2,200-seat arena, the Lady Lions looked at home.
“It feels good not having to travel everywhere else,” Watts said. “It felt good to get that first win here.”
At the 18:18 mark of the first half, Watts made the first of her two free-throw attempts for the game’s first point. After missing the second attempt, Stillman’s Angel Mitchell grabbed the rebound and passed to teammate Andrea Moore. Moore tried to throw the ball down the court, but Burns deflected it to Ariel Brown, who dished it back to Burns cutting to the basket for a layup – the arena’s first field goal.
“I feel good about that,” said Burns, who couldn’t remember the play. “Honored.”
Watts lit up the nets for three 3-pointers the first eight minutes of the game as Paine built a 16-6 lead. Watts outscored Stillman in the first half with 19 points as the Lady Lions cruised into intermission with a 35-18 lead.
Paine had the game so in control that midway through the second half Brown blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound, ran the floor and bounced a pass ahead to Tannasia Rhodes for a layup. Paine led 52-27.
Brown finished with 14 points and 19 rebounds.
“This is just a comfortable gym to play in,” Paine coach Willie Adams said. “It’s nice for us to finally get a home to call our own.”