Lady Hawks defeated

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2007

MURFREESBORO – A work in progress.

That wasn’t exactly how coach Pat Mashuda described his youthful Chowan women’s basketball team after Wednesday night’s home game at the Helms Center, but it’s a good way to sum up the evening – and the Lady Hawks’ effort.

St. Andrews of Laurinburg used a 17-4 run midway through the first half and cruised on to a 63-50 win.

The loss dropped Chowan’s record to 2-6, while it was St. Andrews’ first win after opening with a 0-3 start.

Sophomore AJ O’Bannion led the Lady Hawks with 15 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots, while freshman Brittany Nicholson had 13 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.

Keyon Sellers just missed making it a trio in double figures as she finished with nine points.

Erica Thompson had 21 points for St. Andrews while Danielle Norman and Desiree Jones had 13 and 11 points, respectively.

&uot;That’s what happens to young teams,&uot; said a disappointed Coach Mashuda after the game, &uot;you blink and suddenly the game gets separated and now you’re fighting an uphill battle.&uot;

St Andrews’ defense held the Hawks to just 13 points in the first half on 17 percent shooting. Chowan finished shooting just 30 percent for the entire game.

&uot;The first half when you score just 13 points you kind of put yourself behind the eight-ball.&uot; said Mashuda. &uot;But there’s no substitute for putting the ball in the hole.&uot;

After O’Bannion and Sellers got Chowan off to a 7-4 lead three minutes into the game, the Lady Knights began to turn up their offense, reeling off six straight points and

taking a 10-7 lead they would never relinquish.

They then turned up the defense and the Lady Hawks struggled as all five of Chowan’s three-point field goals failed to find the mark. Of their 34 total field goals attempted in the half, only six were successful, and Chowan trailed, 28-13, at the half.

Chowan came out inspired in the second half, reeling off six straight points as their zone forced St. Andrews to miss from the outside. After one such futile attempt, trailing 28-17, Ashley Banks grabbed a rebound for Chowan and passed to Sellers, who found O’Bannion just inside the paint for a jump shot that trimmed the lead to nine at 28-19 just two and a half minutes into the half.

But that was as close as the Lady Hawks would come.

Jones again found her three-point range for St. Andrews with a pair of treys and Norman hit a free throw to make it a 16-point lead three minutes later.

The teams traded baskets for a brief span before Erika Thompson’s jump shot gave St. Andrews their biggest lead of nineteen at 29-48.

The Lady Hawks could not answer for St. Andrews’ quickness.

Chowan cut the lead to twelve with four and a half minutes to play and Nicholson scored five points down the stretch as the Lady Hawks applied pressure defense, forcing St. Andrews turnovers, but the Lady Knights made their free throws down the stretch and kept Chowan at bay until the final horn and the thirteen-point margin of victory.

&uot;We held the team to just 63 points,&uot; said Mashuda. &uot;We’re just not scoring enough to be competitive in those games.&uot;

The loss marked the fifth contest out of seven where the Lady Hawks held an opponent to 64 points or less, but come up on the losing end.

&uot;Defensively,&uot; continued Mashuda, &uot;we’re working hard and we can get better (offensively) on that end of the floor.&uot;

This was Chowan’s final women’s home game of 2007. After an exam break they’ll travel to South Carolina for a pair of games in the Coker Classic before facing UNC-Pembroke on the road on December 17th.

They’ll break for Christmas before playing at Division-I UNC Greensboro on the 28th.

They’ll open 2008 with four straight home games in January beginning with Virginia State at the Helms Center on January 3rd.