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Chowan women record first CIAA win

MURFREESBORO – Sweet.

Chowan’s women’s basketball team won their first game as a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Monday night at the Helms Center, 81-57, over Lincoln University.

Sophomore Ransheeda Jennings came off the bench and led five Hawks in double figures with 17 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Talayla Lynch had 16 points to go with six rebounds and four steals while Naomi Walters had 14 with Danielle Coleman adding 12 in a non-starting role, and Najah Harris rounding out the double-digit numbers with 11.

“A 24-point win goes a long way toward helping it be an enjoyable game,” said smiling sixth-year coach Pat Mashuda, who registered his first win in CIAA competition. “We’ve taken a lot of pride in our defensive effort and our effort in general this year and it really paid off tonight.”

In addition to the strong offensive output, the Hawks held the Lions to 33 percent shooting for the game and registered 16 steals. They also outrebounded their opponents, 50-37, and forced 22 turnovers which they converted into 26 points.

“It was one of those situations where we battled pretty hard in our first two games and things just didn’t go our way,” added Mashuda. “But tonight they did and it certainly was a lot of fun for the ladies.”

Chowan opened the game with a 14-6 run thanks to their tight man-to-man defense that forced six turnovers and produced four steals. At the other end, newcomers Lynch and Naomi Waters accounted for 10 of the Hawks points.

After Lincoln cut the lead to five points at the 12-minute mark, the Hawks went on a 13-5 run over the next five minutes as Waters collected five more of her nine first-half points, including a big three-pointer that gave Chowan a 13-point lead.

They then made 5-of-8 free throws to push the lead out even more before Jennings hit a three-pointer with under two minutes to play to give Chowan a 20-point lead at 44-24.

Harris’ two free throws with under 10 seconds left gave Chowan its biggest lead of the half, 47-26. Chowan finished the first half with 17 points off turnovers, 10 second-chance points and getting contributions from everyone as the bench accounted for 17 points and all but one Hawks player had scored.

In the second half coach Mashuda switched to a zone defense and in the first six-and-a-half minutes Chowan built its largest lead of the game at 28 points as Jennings capped a 10-4 run with a big three-pointer to make it, 58-30.

The closest Lincoln came after that was 17 points with just over four minutes to play before Chowan closed out the game making 9-of-10 free throws and a 24-point win to give Mashuda and the team its inaugural CIAA victory.

Chowan is now 1-2 on the season and 1-2 in the CIAA. Lincoln falls to 1-3 and 0-2 in conference play.

“We’re not as tall or as strong as some of the other teams in this league,” said Mashuda, “and the way you combat that is by coming out hard and working your butt off and that’s what this team has done this year.”

“It was something we all worked at together,” said Harris. “We really wanted to get after it today.

“We love it when our teammates get open,” she added with a grin, “and when they get open we give ’em the ball.”

“I just came to play,” said the shy Jennings, “the opponent didn’t matter.”

Chowan will play their first road game Saturday (today) at Belmont Abbey before returning to the Helms Center and CIAA action Monday night against Virginia Union. Tip-off for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.