Lady Bears Advance to CIAA Semifinals With 80-73 Win Over Saint Augustine's
[Charlotte, NC] - What a difference a week makes.
Last Thursday, Shaw easily defeated Saint Augustine's, but Wednesday afternoon - with a berth in the CIAA Tournament Semifinals on the line, the Lady Bears had to struggle to hold off the Lady Falcons in the second round of the CIAA Tournament held at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Lady Falcons had three different opportunities to tie or take the lead late in the game, but came up short each time.
With under four minutes left in the game, and with the Lady Bears only leading by two, Shaw's Crystal Harris got the offensive rebound off of a missed Brittney Spencer three-point attempt, made the basket and was fouled. Her free throw was good and the Lady Bears had a 70-65 lead. The Lady Falcons would not get closer than four the rest of the way.
With the win, the Lady Bears improve to 21-6 on the season and will play Bowie State Friday at 1:00 p.m. The loss ends the Lady Falcons' season with a 13-14 record.
Five Lady Bears scored in double digits - something Shaw head coach Jacques Curtis said didn't surprise him. "We're a team by committee," he said. "Every night someone else is going to lead us. That's been a strong point for us all season. We have a lot of balance."
In the two previous meetings this year, Shaw has won by an average of 42.5 points per game, and midway through the first half, it looked like this game would follow much the same trajectory.
With 9:21 left in the first half, Kyria Buford hit a three that gave Shaw a 28-11 lead. The Lady Bears would extend the lead to 18 by the end of the half.
At the 18:23 mark in the second half, Sequoyah Griffin hit a three to give the Lady Bears a 52-33 lead, but she earned a technical for taunting and combined with an earlier flagrant foul, also earned her an ejection from the game.
In the ensuing nine minutes, Saint Augustine's outscored Shaw 23-11, cutting the lead to only seven points when Denika Harden hit a three pointer.
Aslea Williams hit a single free throw to put Shaw back on the scoreboard, but then the Lady Falcons went on another run - this time outscoring the Lady Bears 9-2 to trim the Shaw advantage to only one.
Harris then scored six straight points for Shaw, giving them a 72-65 lead. Harden would hit another three for Saint Augustine's to cut the Shaw lead to four, but Kyria Buford hit a three from the left wing to re-extend the lead and all but put the game out of reach.
Shaw built the lead to ten points on a Victoria Tanner free throw, then Harden hit a three from midcourt as the buzzer sounded to provide the final 80-73 score.
Aslea Williams led the Lady Bears in scoring with 19 points. Both Buford and Harris had double-doubles. Buford scored 15 points and pulled in 14 rebounds while Harris scored 11 and had 10 rebounds. Brittney Spencer added 11 points of her own, and Ransom had 10.
Four Lady Falcons scored in double digits with CIAA Player of the Year Keyona Bryant earning a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds. Benson had 15 points, Victoria Davis had 12 and Harden finished with 11.
Next, the Lady Bears will face Bowie State in a semifinal matchup Friday at 1:00 p.m. The two teams met earlier this season when Shaw won 87-48.