Chowan women bounce Barton

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MURFREESBORO – Who will protect this house?

Tuesday night that was more than just a marketing cliché as a pair of pre-season All-CIAA performers stepped up and guided Chowan University’s women’s basketball team to a down-to-the wire 62-59 win over Barton College at the Helms Center.

It was Chowan’s first win over the Lady Bulldogs of Conference Carolinas in the seven-year tenure of Hawks Head Coach Pat Mashuda.

And it left Chowan 2-0 at home on the young season. Let’s see Brinks or ADT top that for security.

Senior Ransheeda Jennings and junior Talaya Lynch – voted pre-season all-conference in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) – were the offensive catalysts for Chowan.

Lynch had 18 points, including going 8-of-11 from the free throw line. The three misses at the charity stripe by the Hampton native were her first all season (25-for-28). Jennings was not far behind scoring 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

Janelle Murphy came close to double-figures as she tallied nine.

“We’re blessed to have those two all conference players on our roster,” said Mashuda after the game, “and it was their leadership that got us through today.

“We’re young,” he continued, “but we’ve got great leadership at the top. When those guys give great effort like they did tonight it makes everybody else’s job pretty easy.”

Barton (4-4), who only led in the final minute of the game, had four players in double figures led by Shante Neal with a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs, who shot a blistering 8-of-16 three-pointers in the first meeting between the two schools in Wilson, were just 6-for-34 in the first half, including making just one-of-five treys and finished one-for-nine from beyond the arc.

It was a 6-5 contest in the first four and a half minutes of the game before junior Danielle Coleman scored six points in a row on a pair of layups and a jump shot in the corner to stake Chowan to a 12-5 lead.

The Hawks’ lead went to 10 points at the 10-minute mark on Naima Harrington’s layup in the paint to make it 17-7.

Thirty seconds later, CIAA Rookie-of-the-Week, freshman Summer Curtis, gave Chowan a 19-7 lead with an offensive rebound and put-back.

Barton cut the lead to nine with four minutes until the break, but would not be able to pull any closer as Chowan held a 10-point, 31-21, lead at halftime.

The Hawks’ lead was a dozen, 33-21, when T’Arra Cutting hit a jump shot to open the second half scoring, but Barton whittled that deficit down to six in the first three minutes of the half.

Chowan got the lead back to double figures and matched their biggest lead of 12 thanks to Lynch’s shooting, but the Hawks also went through scoring droughts.

Barton capitalized, knocking Chowan’s lead down from 11 to just one point in a five-and-a-half minute span and the score stood, 47-46, with six and a half minutes to play.

A Coleman layup upped the margin to three and then Lynch dropped a long-range bomb for three more and in just one minute the lead was back to six.

Over the next three-plus minutes Chowan made 4-of-8 free throws while Barton found it’s scoring groove and got within one point three times, but could never go in front.

After Murphy made a layup to stake Chowan to a 58-55 lead, four straight free throws by Barton took the Bulldogs from three down to up one with 50 seconds remaining. But a Jennings layup regained the lead for the Hawks, 60-59.
Barton came down for a go-ahead shot, but Curtis stepped up and got her fifth blocked shot of the game.

That led to two free throws by Lynch to give Chowan the final margin of victory as Barton tried to get off several shots in the final seconds, but could not connect.

“Second half we got a little comfortable with the score,” said Jennings afterward, “and defensively we got beat a couple of times, but Summer stepped up big with those blocked shots.”

“We wanted to bounce back after (Friday’s loss at) Clayton State,” said Murphy, “so this is a really big win for us.”

‘We just wanted it more,” said Lynch, “we had to show that we’re ready.  That we’re here.”

Chowan will have a week off for exams before heading to UNC-Pembroke on December 14.  Their final home game of 2011 will be Sunday, December 18 at 1 p.m. against Bloomfield College.