CU ladies complete sweep

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

MURFREESBORO – Sweep, as in a very big broom.

Chowan University’s women basketball team completed their season series with Allen University from South Carolina Wednesday night with a powerful 77-55 home win at the Helms Center.

Earlier this month they took a similar victory, 70-35, over the Yellow Jackets down in Columbia.

“It was still a challenge for us,” said fifth-year coach Pat Mashuda, “because we played to their level in the first half, but in the second half I thought we cleaned some things up and once we got things going our way I think that made the difference for us.”

For the second straight game, freshman guard Maddie Cummings scored in double-figures with a season-high 15 points including a perfect 2-for-2 from the foul line and knocking down 3-of-6 shots from beyond the three-point arc.

Najah Harris was also in double-figures with 14 points and she committed just one turnover and no fouls in 28 minutes of play. Taylor Hughes led the effort on the boards with eight rebounds and she also had four blocked shots. Patricia Price, the Virginia State transfer, had five assists.

LeRonna Drayton led all scorers with 18 points for Allen (2-16).

“It was fun,” said Harris. “We definitely came prepared and were ready to work for this one.”

Chowan (7-15) blew out to an early 8-0 lead in the first seven minutes of play and though the Yellow Jackets trimmed the lead to a single-digit twice in the first half the home team was never really threatened.

During one of those spans, the Hawks missed their first nine three-point attempts before Demicka McMahan connected with a trey just under the 10-minute mark to stake Chowan to a 12-8 lead.

McMahan then connected on her next two attempts as well for eight points-in-a-row and the Hawks were up four with eight minutes to play, 17-13. Chowan closed out the first half with six straight points coming off turnovers, four of those points by Harris.

Neither team was scoring in the final two minutes of the frame until a late foul sent Allen to the free-throw line for a pair with one-second left to stake the Hawks to a 29-23 lead at halftime.

“On the floor we were telling each other to stay focused,” said Harris, “because we can’t underestimate any team, and as long as we play hard, we’ll be alright.”

The teams played evenly through the first five minutes of the second half, but Chowan began to assert itself in rebounding. Brittany Nicholson hit a pair of jumpers and Price found Harris open on the wing and she dropped a trey to give Chowan its first double-digit lead of the half, 44-34.

That lead grew to 19 midway through the half as Price scored off a miss and Cummings swished a trio of three-pointers. Chowan was up 17 when Tameka Christopher, playing in just her third game this season because of injury, dropped a trey and Chowan led by 20 (63-43) with under six minutes to play.

The Yellow Jackets whittled their deficit down to 16 with four minutes to play as coach Mashuda began to clear his bench. Freshman Ash’Leigh Pickett swished her first two shots and with under a minute to play Cummings foul shots gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the night at 77-53 before a late Yellow Jackets score made for the final margin.

“This helps us all a lot,” said Cummings, “especially giving some of us a great opportunity to play.” She grinned, “It’ll get us in shape running up and down the court like that.”

“This’ll prepare us for the next game fundamental-wise,” added McMahan, “especially focusing.”

“We were a little shot-happy early,” said Mashuda, “but when we attack the paint and play inside-out we’re a much better team.”

Chowan plays its final road game of the season Monday in Sumter, SC against Morris College before they close out the season with three straight home games beginning February 7 against the University of the District of Columbia.