Hawks celebrate PinkZone with win

Published 2:37 pm Friday, February 11, 2011

MURFREESBORO – Two of the late NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow’s famous quotes are: “We all can make a difference” and “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”

Thursday night at the Helms Center for their third annual WBCA/PinkZone game, honoring Yow and intended as a night to raise both cancer awareness and money for cancer research, the Hawks used a little bit of both en route to a 79-49 win over Lincoln University in CIAA women’s hoops action.

As for kicking it forward, the Hawks’ win keeps them a game ahead of Bowie State in the CIAA-North division race.

And for a difference, well, it was ‘Senior Night’.

The three seniors responded as guards Najah Harris, Brittany Nicholson and Patricia Price each scored eight points. But the brunt of the offensive load came from a 22-point effort from sophomore Talaya Lynch thanks to four-of six shooting from beyond the three-point arc, and a 20-point outing from junior Ransheeda Jennings.

DeJuana Mosley led Lincoln with an 18 point, 10-rebound performance, that put her over the 1,000-point plateau for her four-year career.

“Just great energy in the gym tonight,” said smiling seventh-year Head Coach Pat Mashuda, who wore pink high-top Converse sneakers in tribute. “We had the band, we had the PinkZone and we had Senior Night – just a lot of positive things for us to feed off of.”

Though the game would become a ‘feeding frenzy’ by the second half, the Hawks, resplendent in powder-pink uniforms to honor the night, found themselves in rough waters in the first half and needed that ‘extra kick forward.’

“Really we just did a great job of sharing the basketball,” added Mashuda,” and providing our teammates with a lot of good open looks to knock down shots.”

Chowan scored the first eight points of the game, capped with a Jennings three-point play, and never looked back from there, though Lincoln made it interesting in the first 20 minutes.

Twice in the first 10 minutes the Lady Lions got within two, the last time at the 12-minute mark, before Chowan hit three straight layups: two by Nicholson and another after a steal by Jennings.

With 7:15 until halftime, Lincoln got their last field-goal of the half because of Chowan’s stifling defense. Meanwhile, Jennings made it a 10-point first-half effort for herself by scoring three of Chowan’s last five before the break giving the home team a 32-20 lead.

In the second half, Chowan never let the lead fall below double-digits.  They opened the first seven minutes of the frame on a 22-9 run and gained a 54-31 advantage.

They continued with the pressure defense, forcing Lincoln turnovers, and had a 29-point lead with 11 minutes to play.

Four minutes later, the Hawks had topped the 30-point mark as Harris nailed a three-pointer, her second and final trey of the night.  Less than a minute later Price collected two free throws and 1-plus-1 Mashuda removed his seniors to the applause and whoops of the home crowd.

“We didn’t try to do anything special,” said Nicholson, “because the night was already special.  We just wanted to play a solid game and get a win.”

“Everyone wants that number-one spot,” said Harris, bedecked in balloons and gift packages from her teammates, “but we’re going to keep fighting and battling just like on Tuesday.”

That was a reference to the Hawks’ coming back from 20 points down to defeat rival, Bowie State.

“We’ve still got to earn our respect,” chimed in Price. “No one in the league probably takes us serious,” she added, “and they’re probably not going to take us serious until we walk away with the ring.”