RALEIGH, NC – Both the Shaw University men's and women's basketball teams will open the 2017 New Year with its first home Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Conference contest of the season at home on Thursday, Jan. 5 inside C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium with the women's game slated for 6 p.m., followed by the men's game at approximately 8 p.m.
General admission is $15. Senior citizen, military personnel and visiting students with a valid school identification is $10. Children ages 5 and under and all Shaw students with valid school ID is free.
Live stats will be available online at www.shawbears.com. Fans can follow live tweets during the game on Twitter @ShawBears.
The Lady Bears (3-11, 0-2 CIAA) enter Thursday's action looking to get off to a good start in the New Year despite falling 79-65 at Francis Marion to close out the non-conference schedule and 2016 year. Imani Heggins (Chesapeake, VA) led Shaw in scoring with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds against the Patriots. Heggins is the Lady Bears leading scorer with 13.3 points per game, while Stephanie Custodio (Chino, CA) adds 13.0 points per outing.
For the No. 3 Lady Panthers of Virginia Union, VUU (10-0, 1-0 CIAA) heads to Spaulding with a No. 1 ranking in the Atlantic Region and No. 3 slot in the nation according to the WBCA NCAA Division II Coaches Poll. The Lady Panthers are coming off a 68-48 victory over Winston-Salem State Monday led by Alexis Johnson's double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brittany Jackson is the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.9 points per game and 5.9 rebounds. Lady Walker produces 13.7 points per and a team-best 10.8 rebounds per game while Jayda Luckie contributes 11.3 points and Johnson adds 10.4 points for VUU.
The last time these two teams met was during the 2016 CIAA Women's Basketball Championship game. Shaw fell to the Lady Panthers 70-66 on Feb. 27 in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The Lady Bears has lost the last two meetings against VUU.
On the men's side, the Bears (5-7, 1-1 CIAA) are hoping to snap a two-game skid when they welcome the Panthers to Spaulding Gymnasium. Shaw is coming off a 100-79 loss to Claflin during the Shaw U Classic held on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29. Benji Bell (Gainesville, FL) finished the game with a team-best 14 points and four assists, followed by DeAngelo Stephens-Bell (Jacksonville, FL) with 13 points and three assists, while Larry Richardson, II (Garner, NC) and Khaliq Williams (Jacksonville, FL) registered 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Bell paces Shaw in scoring with an average of 15.1 points per game. Richardson, II contributes 14.7 points and David Madol (Manchester, NH) adds 14.3 points per contest.
As for the Panthers (9-4, 1-0 CIAA), VUU is coming off a 83-82 victory over Winston-Salem State Monday behind Ray Anderson's 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Tavon Mealy and Kory Cooley added 17 and 14 points, respectively. Anderson is the team's leading scoring with an average of 21.9 points per game while Mealy rounds out the double figure scoring for the Panthers with an average of 10.1 points.
The two squads met earlier this season in Richmond, Va., a game that saw the Bears come up short 77-75 to the Panthers in a non-conference tilt. VUU leads the all-time series over Shaw with a 44-16 overall record, Shaw has lost the last two meetings.
Following Thursday's action, Shaw will continue its home stand with a CIAA contest versus Bowie State University on Saturday, Jan. 7 with the women's game slated for 2 p.m. and the men's game at 4 p.m.
For the most up-to-date information on Shaw basketball and its 11 varsity sport teams, visit shawbears.com.