Last-second shot lifts St. Aug

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MURFREESBORO – Right through the heart.

The Chowan University women’s basketball team fought their way back from 13 points down Monday night at the Helms Center only to see their comeback hopes dashed as St. Augustine’s College hit a last second shot to win, 65-63.

It was the Hawks’ sixth game this season decided by five points or less.

Trailing 60-47 with 4:47 to play Chowan cut the deficit to two, 63-61, with a minute to play; and then knotted the contest on a Ransheeda Jennings jump shot with less than 30 seconds to play.

Then, with 13 seconds left, after a timeout, Chowan, who leads the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in field-goal percentage defense, set their defense.

Holding for the final shot, the Lady Falcons’ Victoria Davis found a seam in the Hawks’ zone and lofted a fallaway jump shot over the out-stretched arms of two Chowan defenders.  The shot fell, and Chowan’s desperation last second heave fell short.

Jennings led a trio of Chowan ladies in double-figures with 20 points and five assists. Teammate and CIAA Player of the Week Talaya Lynch finished with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Janelle Murphy rounded out the double-digit scoring with 15.

Keyona Bryant had 21 points and 18 rebounds for St. Aug’s.

“At the end of the day, this (win) wouldn’t have even been a steal,” said eighth-year Chowan coach Pat Mashuda, “had we been able to take care of things on the backboard.”

St. Augustine’s won the rebounding battle, out-grabbing Chowan in caroms, 50-42, 26 of those on the offensive glass; but again, Chowan’s defense was stellar, holding St. Aug’s to under 36 percent shooting from the floor.

“We did a great job of fighting and getting some stops,” Mashuda added, “and we were able to finish with a bunch of defensive rebounds down the stretch, and that’s what allowed us to get back into the game.”

Chowan opened the game by going 4-of-6 and built a 10-2 lead.

St. Aug’s however, would come back and take the lead with less than two minutes until the break; however, Lynch hit a late layup to tie it at the intermission, 27-27.

The Lady Falcons scored the first seven points of the second half and opened up a 10-point lead only to watch the Hawks trim the lead to two at the midway point,47-45.

After a timeout, the Falcons went on a 13-2 run fueled by six points from Bryant for a 60-47 lead. That’s when the Hawks responded with their own rally to set up the climatic ending.

“That (the game winner) wasn’t the play I designed,” grinned a relieved St. Aug’s coach Rachel Bullard afterward. “You get aggravated sometimes when they don’t do what you tell them but in this case it worked out.

“They (CIAA-South Division teams) were picked to be the top four,” said Jennings, with a sly smile, “but now these cross-over games are over.”

Chowan plays that final cross-over game tonight in Salisbury against Livingstone College.  They then return home to start another three-game home stand beginning Saturday against CIAA-North member, Bowie State.