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The mighty have fallen

RICHMOND, VA – The Chowan University women’s basketball team overcame a twenty-point deficit here Saturday over the course of three quarters and stunned the second-ranked team in women’s NCAA Division II basketball – Virginia Union University – 79-75.

The Hawks improve to 14-6 overall and 7-3 in the CIAA. The Lady Panthers fall to 18-1 overall and 9-1 in the CIAA.

Chowan’s Courtni Williams led five Lady Hawks players in double figures, scoring a game-high 16 points, as Chowan upset NCAA D2 second-ranked Virginia Union 79-75 Saturday in Richmond in CIAA Northern Division action. | Photo by Qwi’Wania Miller

Chowan’s Courtni Williams led five Lady Hawks players in double figures, scoring a game-high 16 points, as Chowan upset NCAA D2 second-ranked Virginia Union 79-75 Saturday in Richmond in CIAA Northern Division action. | Photo by Qwi’Wania Miller

The Hawks mounted a steady but relentless come back that shocked the Lady Panthers, giving them their first loss of the 2016-17 season. Chowan used a balanced attack on both ends of the floor, with nine different players stepping up to score points at pivotal moments to seal the win. The Hawks outscored VUU 16-9 in the final five minutes of the contest.

“This team never got discouraged, even after being down 20 points,” said first-year head coach LaToya Jones afterward. They never gave up, they stayed in the fight.”

No team in the Chowan’s NCAA D2 history had ever upset a top five nationally ranked team before Saturday.

The thriller of a game saw six score ties and five lead changes, most of which came in the final quarter of play. The Lady Panthers showed why they were the #2-ranked team in the nation in the first quarter after jumping out to a 29-12 lead.

But Chowan was persistent and would not go away. They went on to outscore Virginia Union over the course of the next three quarters, including dropping 29 points in the fourth quarter and holding the Lady Panthers to a total of 16 fourth quarter points.

The Chowan bench outscored the Panthers 38-to-7 over the course of the entire game. The Hawks also made nine-of-11 free throws in the final six minutes.

Courtni Williams scored a team-high 16 points in the win while four other teammates notched double-digit outings. Sophomore guard Jada Lee came off the bench to score 14 points, with some key free throws in the waning seconds that would help to ice the game for Chowan. Dhyamond Crenshaw scored 11 points and had two blocks while Jordan Payne and Danielle Weldon each chipped in 10 points. Payne also had eight boards and six assists. Senior guard Shaikeyla Jordan scored nine points, including some late game lay ups and free throws that helped to spark the Hawks on to victory.

Brittany Jackson scored a game-high 30 points for Virginia Union University.

The Hawks hit the floor again on Monday at Livingstone College in a CIAA cross-divisional make-up game from the January ice storm.  The game was not completed by press time.