Shaw 86, Chowan 77
Lady Bears Return to Championship Saturday
With the recent success of the Shaw Lady Bears, which included a Final Four appearance in 2011 and a national title in 2012, missing the CIAA title game and the NCAA Tournament despite a 19-11 season – a season many emerging CIAA teams would kill for – was a disappointing season.
The Lady Bears, however, returned to Championship Saturady with a vengence, holding off a late rally in the fourth quarter to defeat Chowan 86-77 to earn their fifth championship game appearance in six years.
“We were ready to come out today,” said Kaula Jacks, who led Shaw with 19 points. “We didn’t come out too strongly Wednesday (against Winston-Salem State). We wanted to play together and we just did everything we needed to do. We had the energy, everything was there and it worked out for us.”
Shaw (24-6) wasted very little time making their presence felt, scoring the game’s first eight points en route to an early 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The Lady Bears used that spurt to take a 23-14 lead after the first quarter, combining that with a blistering defense in the second quarter which limited Chowan (20-8) to just 2-of-18 shooting from the field while forcing eight turnovers in the frame.
“It was a point in the game where separation started to occur,” said Chowan head coach Patrick Mashuda. “We got rushed, we were taking quick shots, we weren’t executing the offense, we weren’t making good passes – we just weren’t playing good basketball at that timeframe.”
By contrast, the Lady Bears hit 10-of-16 shots in the second quarter as they took a 46-22 halftime lead.
“One of the things we pride ourself on is playing good defense,” said head coach Jacques Curtis. The girls did an excellent job in the first half in doing what we wanted to do – a little bit of trapping, forcing them to play a little faster.”
The Lady Bears pretty much picked up where they left off in the third quarter, maintaining a double-digit lead through most of the frame. By the time the buzzer sounded, Shaw held a 67-48 lead entering the final 10 minutes.
The Hawks, however, did not go down without a fight.
A 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter allowed the Hawks to battle back to within nine points, 70-61, with 7:23 left. Tabatha Anderson, however, hit a pair of foul shots to hold off the Chowan threat.
Aaliyah Mercer added 16 points while Eboni Ross added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Shaw; Alisha Mobley (19 points) was one of five Chowan players to score at least 10 points.
Championship Saturday kicks off with the Virginia Union vs. Shaw showdown inside Time Warner Cable Arena at 4:00 p.m. EST. The Lady Panthers soundly defeated Shaw 92-63 at Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond on Jan. 7.