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Chowan ready for Peace

MURFREESBORO – Thursday night’s victory has given the Hawks a positive tone as they prepare for Peace College today (Saturday).

The women’s basketball team used a late thee-pointer from Alicia McMorris to knock off UNC-Pembroke 55-54 and give the Hawks some momentum as they head into their second game after exams.

“We’re coming off a big win last night which certainly gives you some momentum,” head coach Pat Mashuda said Friday. “We were finishing finals and had lost the previous two, so from that standpoint, it certainly puts us in a better frame of mine for tomorrow afternoon.”

The Hawks head into the 1 p.m. showdown with National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III opponent Peace College with an overall 5-4 mark including two victories in a season-opening tournament at Peace.

The Hawks and Pacers didn’t meet in that tournament, but Mashuda said he did get a chance to see Peace play.

One area which will be a wash for the Hawks today that usually isn’t is the area of youth.

“They are as young as we are,” Mashuda said. “We haven’t played them, but we have seen them.”

While they were off for nearly 10 days, the Hawks were busy practicing and getting ready for the two-game homestand this week.

“We were able to practice some during the finals, so it worked out well for us,” Mashuda said. “It was a good break. I feel like we did some things to get better. We maximized the use of time while taking care of our academics.”

The biggest challenge facing Chowan right now is post play with Keyon Sellers still on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time.

She suffered a leg injury two weeks ago and has been working to return, but still hasn’t got a specific diagnosis.

“Keyon is in the process of getting a second opinion,” Mashuda explained. “She’s better, but she’s not close to playing. We’re still not sure exactly what her situation is.

“In an ideal world, she will be ready the first week of January, but right now there is no legitimate timetable for her return,” he said.

With the junior team leader recuperating, the Hawks are left with a young team in the post positions.

“It’s an experience factor and a big one for us, because “K” is such a competitor,” the coach said. “We play four people in the post that are freshman n that’s a challenge.”

While the challenge is mainly on the forwards, the coach said guards on the team would also have to step up their play.

“I think it extends to the guards because it allows teams to do things against us they normally wouldn’t,” he said. “It allows them not to lose track of the person they’re guarding, because they don’t have to double someone in the post.”

As Mashuda looks to today’s game, he said the three factors which would be important are the same three he and assistant coaches Alexandra Street and Marci Jenkins had pushed all season.

“Our case for tomorrow is simple,” he said. “We have to take care of the basketball, rebound with them and match their intensity. If we do those things, we’ll have a chance.”

Being part of a doubleheader at home this late in the calendar year is a positive, according to Mashuda.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “This time of year no one really wants to be out traveling. We’re able to sleep in beds we’re comfortable with and work out when we need to.”

The coach was also looking forward to having a fan base at the Helms Center for the contest.

“It’s important to us to have the community come out and support us,” he said. “They are who we’ll be counting on to get us through difficult times and give us energy.”

The Hawks host Peace College at 1 p.m.