Chowan ladies capture first win

Published 12:54 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2010

By Gene Motley

Sports Writer

MURFREESBORO – Satisfaction,  like the feeling you got after you finished that great holiday meal.

It’s what the Chowan University women’s basketball team felt Tuesday night at the Helms Center as they posted their first win of the new season, 64-39, over Bluefield State College from West Virginia.

Just like at a family gathering, everyone got their fill: everybody played and everybody scored.

Sophomore Talaya Lynch followed up her stellar performance in the recently concluded Chick-Fil-A Classic in Georgia with another great outing, leading the Hawks in scoring with 19 points; her third straight game as top point-producer.

Senior Brittany Nicholson just missed double-figures with nine points while fellow seniors Najah Harris and Patricia Price had seven apiece. Freshman Jennifer Mitchell was leading rebounder with six as Chowan raised its record on the year to 1-3.

“We didn’t want to go home (for Thanksgiving break) at 0-4,” said a smiling Price after the game, “so it really felt good to get this one.  We tried to bring intensity and energy for 40 minutes and work on all the little things we’ve struggled with.”

There was little struggle evident here as the Hawks led almost the entire game (there was one tie) and for the last 23 minutes of play had a double-figure bulge on the Blues.

Chowan scored in transition, in the low post, off their motion offense, and especially on defense where they put up 23 points off Bluefield turnovers.

“Honestly,” said Nicholson, who finished the game with five steals, “it felt good to get a win, whether it was by one point or a blowout.”

“We played a tough team over the weekend (in 21st-ranked Clayton State),” she added, “and we recognized the kind of energy they bring when they play and we want to try to bring the same kind of intensity.”

After falling behind, 5-4, in the opening minutes the Hawks roared back with a 6-0 run to take a 10-5 lead and were in command the rest of the way.

They also took advantage of Bluefield State’s aggressive over-play by making 19 trips to the free throw line in the first half and connecting on 14 of those attempts.

They also shot a respectable 9-for-19 from the floor while holding BSC to under 35 percent shooting for the half and taking a 34-21 lead into the locker room at the break thanks to 11 points from Lynch.

“We kinda felt like we played down to their level in the first half,” said Nicholson, “so we made a real conscious effort to pick it up in the second half.”

That intensity must have gone full bore because Chowan upped their lead to 20 points in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second stanza. Lynch got the first six points, followed by a steal and layup by Nicholson and the run was capped off by a three-pointer from Harris.

Chowan Head Coach Pat Mashuda substituted liberally after that, allowing the bench players to pick up valuable playing time.  Price led the way with four second half points while 19 more came from sophomore T’Arra Cutting and freshmen Kara Davis, Courtney Knight, and Jennifer Hamilton.

Chowan topped out with a 27-point lead with six-and-a-half minutes to play on Danielle Coleman’s free throw that made it 57-30. From there, the Hawks’ defense held the Blues (1-2)  to just nine more points the rest of the way.

“This was good for us and needed for us,” said Mashuda, “but it’s still got to be about our habits.  We’re not a gifted team scoring-wise so we’re going to have to execute better, take care of the basketball better and be detail-oriented to be successful.”

Mashuda also praised the 23-point effort of his bench.

“They’re our highest energy group right now,” he said, “and it think it’s starting to catch on with the upper-classmen.

“When it all catches fire,” he added, “and we play like that for 40 minutes we’re going to be a fun team to watch.”

“We tried a lot of things tonight to see what works,” said Lynch, “and the young players get to see what it’s like on the court because it’s going to be tough when we play in the CIAA.”

Chowan will play a non-CIAA game against St. Augustine’s College in their next home date at Helms on December 2.  Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.