[Raleigh, NC] - Four Lady Bears scored in double digits as Shaw downed cross-town rival Saint Augustine's 90-51 in a game played at a packed Emery Gymnasium on Thursday night. With the win, Shaw clinches the Southern Division title heading into next week's CIAA Tournament.
"It's good to have done it," said Shaw head coach Jacques Curtis, "but we're all about the CIAA Championship. But this is part of the process and an accomplishment that they can feel good about."
With the win, the Lady Bears claim a 20-win season balanced against six losses. They finish the season 15-1 in the CIAA and 9-1 in the Southern Division. Saint Augustine's falls to 13-13 overall, 8-8 in the conference and 3-7 in the division.
The Lady Bear defense kept the Lady Falcons off balance for most of the night; holding Saint Augustine's to only 23.2 percent from the field and forcing 18 turnovers. Shaw also outrebounded Saint Augustine's 65-39.
"She had some big numbers," said Curtis. "She's hungry and trying to get the CIAA championship. A lot of people can step up in minor games, but she stepped up in a game that counted."
Saint Augustine's broke out on top early, building a 7-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Shaw answered with an 8-2 run culminating in Crystal Harris' layup that gave Shaw a 10-9 lead with 13:31 left in the half.
Jasmine Shabazz hit a jumper that gave Saint Augustine's back the lead at 11-10, but Shaw's Brittney Spencer hit a jumper that started what would become a 16-point run. With 8:56 left in the half, Williams sank a pair of free throws to give the Lady Bears a 26-11 lead.
After allowing a layup from CIAA Player of the Year Keyona Bryant, the Lady Bears reeled off a 12-3 run building a 22-point lead on a pair of free throws from Allyssa Lane.
The Lady Falcons would cut the Shaw advantage to 16, but Shaw rebuilt the lead to 22 points by the half, taking a 48-26 advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, the Lady Falcons never made a serious run on the Shaw lead and the Lady Bears extended their advantage throughout the half. With 11:07 left in the game, Harris hit a layup to give the Lady Bears their first 30-plus point lead at 70-39.
The Lady Bears would eventually stretch the lead to as many as 43, but Shabazz hit a free throw in the last minute of the game to close out the scoring and trim the Shaw final margin under 40.
Williams was not the only Lady Bear with a double-double on the evening. Harris added 12 points and 10 rebounds to the Shaw stat sheet. Spencer and Ransom each had 13 for Shaw. Spencer led both teams with seven assists.
Victoria Davis led the Lady Falcons with 13 points while Umeka Benson had 10. Bryant led Saint Augustine's with nine rebounds and Brittany Torain had four assists.
With the first round bye in the CIAA Tournament, the Lady Bears now wait until next Wednesday to play.
"We're playing well right now," said Curtis. "You hate to have that much time off when you're playing this well. The struggle now is to keep them ready to play, and practice is not game speed."