Nov 15, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The Shaw Lady Bears opened their new campaign the same way they closed last season—as winners.
The defending NCAA Division II National Champions had four players finish in double figures as Shaw overpowered Virginia Lynchburg 73-45 in a game played on Wednesday night at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium.
Junior guard Kearah Jeffreys led Shaw’s balanced offensive attack, scoring 25 points on 60 percent shooting. She also snagged down eight rebounds for the Lady Bears. Senior guard Crystal Wilson finished with 16 points and five boards. Junior forward Adana David added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Bears and junior Diamond Mitchell contributed with 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
As a team, the Lady Bears shot 54.5 percent (24-of-44) from the floor and 46.2 percent from 3-point territory (6-of-13). Defensively, the Lady Bears (1-0) held the Lady Dragons to just 27.3 percent shooting.
“This was exactly how we wanted to open the season,” said Shaw assistant coach Jonas Richard. “We were effective on both ends of the floor. Offensively, I thought we shot the ball well and got some great looks at the basket. Defensively, I thought we did a good job forcing them to just one shot. We played a strong game on both ends of the floor. It’s a good way to open the season when you play like that.”
Jeffreys opened the game draining a 3-pointer with 18:51 remaining in the first half. She finished the game shooting 9-of-15 for the game. She was also 6-of-11 from long range. At halftime, all but one of Jeffreys’ field goals was a 3-pointer.
“She got hot early and we kept feeding her the ball,” Richard said about Jeffreys’ performance. “She had some shots go down and it really gave us a boost offensively. She’s a big time player and big time players make big time plays. So she deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Shaw out-rebounded Virginia Lynchburg, winning the battle of the boards 47-22. Of their 47 total rebounds, 37 came on the offensive glass.
“Our rebounding was excellent,” explained Richard. “We had strong rebounding numbers all-around and not just from our post players. Kearah and Diamond had eight and seven rebounds, respectively and they are our guards. Wilson, who is another guard, had five. It was a strong rebounding night all-around for us. We’re going to need a lot more of that this season if we want to be successful."
Junior center Crystal Gordon, who is also a volleyball player for the Lady Bears, came just three points shy of a double-double in her Shaw basketball debut. Gordon finished with seven points and a game-high 11 boards.
“Crystal Gordon came in and played very well for us,” said Richard. “She brought a lot of energy to the floor every time she got out there. I was very pleased with what I saw from her tonight. She played well and provided a huge spark for us. We still need to work with her on a few things but that was not a bad debut from her at all.”
The Lady Bears opened the game on a 17-4 run in the first 11 minutes of the contest and held a 37-22 cushion at halftime.
In the second half, Shaw’s dominance continued as they opened on an 8-0 run to build a 45-22 lead with 18:07 left to play.
Shaw’s defense held the Lady Dragons to just one field goal in the first 2:43 of the second half. The first field goal of the half for the Lady Dragons came on a jumper from Ebony Miller with 17:17 remaining in the game, which cut the deficit to 45-25.
Shaw responded by going on a 14-5 run over the next seven minutes to build a 59-30 lead with 10:04 remaining in the contest. The 29-point lead was the largest lead of the night for the Lady Bears.
During that late run, the Lady Bears forced the Lady Dragons to six turnovers and held their opposition to just 2-for-8 shooting and kept them without a basket for a four-minute stretch. After Miller’s jumper with 17:17 remaining, the Lady Dragons didn’t score again until the 13:18 mark of the second half when Alliyah Floyd rolled to the basket for a lay-up.
Miller was one of two Lady Dragons that finished in double figures. She finished the night with 10 points and seven rebounds. Ebony Ellis led the Lady Dragons with 16 points and five rebounds in the loss.
After building the 29-point cushion, the Lady Dragons went on an 11-3 run and got within 21 at 62-41 with 5:21 remaining in the game. The run was silenced when Jeffreys drained a 3-pointer with 4:22 left to play, putting the crowd of 623 to its feet.
Jeffreys’ trey was part of another late-game rally by the Lady Bears, who closed the game on an 11-4 run to take the victory. Mitchell scored the game’s final points on a layup with 1:08 remaining on the clock to make it 73-45.
Richard says that the Lady Bears made it one of their goals to control the tempo and the style of play from the very beginning.
“We made it a goal to come out tonight and just play aggressive from the very beginning,” said Richard. “We wanted to come out and get things going early offensively and play hard on the defensive end and I think we did that. It was important for us to get this win early on. It feels real good to be 1-0 right now. I’m proud of this group.”
The Lady Bears will return to action on December 11 when they host Tusculum at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.