Hawks break through

Published 2:06 pm Monday, January 10, 2011

MURFREESBORO – Breakthrough.

The Chowan University women’s basketball team got back to their winning ways again and – along the way – picked up their first win in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association race, 56-50, over Fayetteville State Saturday at the Helms Center.

Suffolk, Virginia junior Ransheeda Jennings struck for 21 points, 13 in the first half; while teammate, sophomore Talaya Lynch posted her second double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Najah Harris solidified her spot as the CIAA’s leader in free-throw percentage, hitting 9-of-10 at the charity stripe for 11 points.

Tierra Coleman led three Broncos (1-9, 0-2, CIAA) in double-figures with 15.

Leading by as many as 10 points early and late in the second half, the Hawks held off an FSU comeback thanks to clutch shooting and rebounding and nailing their foul shots down the stretch.

“I’m so proud of our players,” said Chowan coach Pat Mashuda.  “They were able to get through the struggles of the second half because their (FSU’s) zone was so wide and their players were so big and we were able to play our way through it.

“We didn’t just settle for jump shots,” he added. “We attacked inside and went hard in transition that caused them to foul and when you get to the line 31 times in a game you’re doing pretty well.”

Neither team could mount a solid run in the first 10-plus minutes of the game which featured seven lead changes and six ties.

Trailing 13-11 with nine minutes to play, freshman Kiara Turner kick-started a run when she took a lob over the FSU defense and went up for a layup that tied the contest for the final time.

On the Hawks’ next trip up court she nailed a three-pointer and Chowan was on its way.

Jennings scored the next five in a row and Lynch nailed two free throws to give Chowan a nine-point lead, 22-13.  They upped it to 10 with two minutes remaining until the break and after the Broncos trimmed it to eight at the one-minute mark, Lynch let fly a three-pointer for Chowan’s largest lead of the night: 11 points, 31-20, at halftime.

Chowan’s perimeter defense held the Broncos to just seven made first half baskets while they were 11-of-23 themselves in the first 20 minutes of play.

The home crowd got a scare six and a half minutes into the second half when Turner went down with a knee injury after gobbling up a defensive rebound. She was helped from the court to the trainer’s room and though she returned to the bench, she did not return to the game.

Her teammates not only rallied around her, they rallied in the game; going from a four-point lead to later nine on a spectacular three-pointer from Jennings that had the entire bench on its feet. She later got a key offensive rebound with two minutes left and Fayetteville trying to rally.

Down the stretch Chowan made 11-of-14 foul shots as they attacked the FSU zone.  Jennings and forward Danielle Coleman fouled out, but not before the outcome had been secured.

“We were down to eight players when Kiara went down,” said Jennings, “so we knew we had to work hard.”

“We showed a lot of patience,” added Harris.  “Taking our time on offense and defense made it all come together for us.”