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RALEIGH, N.C. – In three days, the Shaw University women's basketball team will be tested right from the start as the Lady Bears will open their 2017-18 season in a pair of games against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Pitt-Johnstown University and Shepherd University of the Mountain East Conference (MEC).


The Lady Bears will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. to participate in the challenge hosted by Winston-Salem State University on Saturday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 12 at the C.E. Gaines Center.


Shaw will open the season, and challenge against Pitt-Johnstown at 1 p.m., ET, Saturday and then play Shepherd on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lady Bears will look improve upon a 11-18 overall record and 8-8 mark in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) last year, and will do so with a roster that features five returners, including All-CIAA Preseason selection and senior LaQuisha Taylor (Charlotte, NC) who was the team's leading scorer, averaging 19.1 points per contest.


Other notable returners include junior guard Raquel Kellow (Conroe, TX) who posted 9.8 points per game and dished out 1.8 assists per outing in 16 games played last season. The Lady Bears will also look to get more out of senior guard Chelsea Long (Rockledge, FL) who added 7.9 points per outing during her junior campaign.


While the Lady Bears have dropped its last two season-openers, Shaw won their previous four season-opening games, and have won two of the four on the road. The Lady Bears are led by head coach Jacques Curtis in his 18th season.


Shaw and Pitt-Johnstown met last season during the Shepherd University Clarion Hotel Conference Challenge. The Lady Bears were edged by the Lady Cats, 74-72. In that contest, Long poured 23 points and seven boards to lead the Lady Bears.


The Lady Cats enter the conference challenge looking to improve on last season's 8-20 overall record. PJU has nine underclassmen, including six freshman. The Lady Cats leading rebounder is Laurel O'Barto who averaged 9.1 rebounds a game and was the team's second leading scorer at 13.3 ppg last year. Pitt-Johnstown was picked to finish eighth in the PSAC Western Division.


As for Shepherd, this will be the second-consecutive year that Shaw and the Rams meet. The Lady Bears defeated Shepherd 83-79 back on Nov. 12. Long finished with 12 points and seven boards in the win. Shepherd finished 15-17 a season ago, led by Arden Morgan who led the team in scoring with an average of 13.7 points per game.


The Rams were picked to finish seventh in the MEC Preseason Poll.


Following the conference challenge, Shaw will continue their season with a four-game road slate starting with Clark Atlanta on Nov. 18.


For the most up-to-date information on Shaw women's basketball and its 13 varsity sport teams, please visit