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Sellers returns, paces Hawks

MURFREESBORO – Thanksgiving dinner may be reduced by now to leftovers, but it’s still ‘home cookin’; and to the Chowan University women’s basketball team it tastes pretty good.

The Lady Hawks improved their record to 2-3 Tuesday night with a 57-49 home opening win over Morris College at the Helms Center.

Senior Kenyon Sellers posted her first double-double of the season and led Chowan with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Najah Harris had 10 points including four key free throws in the final minute to hold off a late rally. Tyneisha Eaddy led Morris with 21 points.

Sellers, making her first start for Chowan in eleven months, was anxious to perform well before the home crowd.

&uot;It feels great,&uot; said the Florence, South Carolina native after the game. &uot;First home game since last year and I was a little nervous. The first half I was a little rusty but my teammates believed in me so I stepped up and made it in for them.&uot;   

The game was tied 10 times in a back and forth affair featuring several lead changes.

While Morris never led by more than three points, Chowan took it’s biggest lead of the half with under five and a half minutes to play, 21-14, on a steal by Sellers and a Demicka McMahan lay-up. 

But the Lady Hornets reeled off seven straight points in the next two minutes, capped by a Christina McFadden three-pointer to tie the game at 21-all. 

With the game tied 23-23, McMahan, who led the scoring at the half with eight points on 4-for-4 shooting, hit another lay-up to give Chowan the lead.  Morris would return to tie it with time running down, but Chowan took the lead into the locker-room, 28-25, as Harris hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Chowan led the entire second half thanks to defense and rebounding. The Lady Hawks collected a total of 44 caroms for the game, with thirteen of those coming on the offensive glass.

They built their biggest lead of the half five minutes into the frame when Brittany Nicholson stole the ball and fired a pass ahead to a streaking Harris for an easy lay-up and a 38-27 Chowan lead.

The Hawks led 41-34 at the eleven minute mark when Sellers took a pass underneath from JaShonda Crawford and with two Hornet defenders in her face made a turnaround jumper for a nine-point lead.

But in her excitement over the field goal, she yelled out in enthusiasm and was whistled for the only technical foul of the game.

&uot;It was a little too much (celebration)&uot;, said a remorseful Sellers afterward thru a sheepish grin. &uot;I yelled right in the ref’s face and she whistled me. I apologized to my teammates and my coaches, but it won’t happen again.&uot;

Whether the Hawks then went cold from the floor, or the Hornets were inspired after the technical foul free-throws, Morris went on a 9-to-4 run to cut the lead down to four points with five minutes left to play. But on the ensuing possession, A.J. O’Bannion made a lay-up to make it 49-43.  The lead was six points with 45 seconds remaining when McFadden fired a three-pointer from the corner to make it 52-49, but the Hawks made five of six free throws down the stretch to kill the rally and preserve the win.

&uot;That (the rally) helped get our energy going,&uot; said O’Bannion after the game, &uot;and that made us start playing harder and we needed that to step up and get (the win).&uot;

&uot;Fifty-seven points is certainly not lighting up the scoreboard,&uot; said Coach Pat Mashuda, &uot;but if you’re going to defend and rebound and keep someone else in the forties or fifties then you’re going to have a shot to win every night. 

”Until we can get the offense clicking and the younger players get a better understanding of what we’re doing then we’ll rely on our defensive effort and our rebounding,&uot; he added. 

Chowan travels to Montgomery, West Virginia this weekend for a pair of games in the West Virginia Tech/Small College Classic, beginning with the host team on Friday night, followed by the championship or consolation game on Saturday.

They’ll return to the Helms Center Wednesday, December 5, to host St. Andrew’s with a 6 p.m. tip-off.