[Raleigh, NC] - Sequoyah Griffin had a double-double and four Lady Bears scored in double figures for Shaw as they downed Virginia State 73-60.
Griffin's 12 points and 10 rebounds paced a gritty effort that found Shaw at the free throw line 36 times - hitting 26 of them - to help decide the Lady Bears' opener in CIAA play. Shaw evens its record on the season at 5-5 while going 1-0 in the CIAA. Virginia State drops to 8-6 and is winless in the CIAA at 0-2.
Both teams struggled with shooting and turnovers - Shaw hit only 32.8 percent from the floor and committed 25 turnovers, while the Lady Trojans shot 33.3 percent and turned the ball over 21 times.
Shaw was dominant on the boards, outrebounding Virginia State 58-42 - including a 25-18 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Brittany Ransom hit a three pointer for Shaw with 6:59 remaining in the game, giving the Lady Bears a 64-50 lead. In those closing minutes, Shaw hit nine of ten free throw shots, but did not hit another bucket from the floor.
The strong finish for the Lady Bears was in sharp contrast to the first five minutes of the contest. When VSU's Brittany Newby-Ellis hit a jumper from just outside the lane, the Lady Trojans took a 16-4 lead with 15:03 left in the first.
Kyria Buford answered with a three from the top of the arc, which keyed a 13-4 run, ending on Aslea William's free throw to make the score 20-17 in favor of VSU.
After four straight points from the Lady Trojans upped their advantage to seven, the Lady Bears went on a 14-5 run that turned the deficit into a lead, 31-29, on Allyssa Lane's jumper. Marquilla Evans hit a jumper for VSU to tie the game, but then the Lady Bears scored seven unanswered to take a 38-31 lead with 1:42 left in the half.
The Lady Trojans would finish the half on a 4-0 run to cut the Shaw lead to three, 38-35, at the half.
The Lady Bears put the game away early in the second half, opening play with a 14-6 run that built the lead to 52-41 when Williams sank another free throw.
With 5:27 left in the game, Victoria Tanner gave Shaw its biggest lead when she hit two free throws to make the score 68-50 in favor of the Lady Bears. VSU would close the game with a 10-5 run, but it was not enough to trim the lead under 13.
Kyria Buford led Shaw with 13 points, while Griffin added 12. Ransom had 11 points for the Lady Bears and Williams had 10. Lane and Tanner had three assists apiece to lead Shaw.
Evans led all scorers with 17 points for VSU. LeMesha Deal had 13 and Brianna Holt added another ten. Deal led the Lady Trojans with eight rebounds and Newby-Ellis had three assists to pace VSU.
The Lady Bears return to action Monday when they host Virginia Union. Tip is at 6:00 p.m. at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium on the Shaw campus.