Dec 15, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — After a 20-point setback to Tusculum earlier in the week, the 13th-ranked Shaw Lady Bears got their confidence back in the opening game of the Shaw University Invitational.
The Lady Bears, using a different starting five from their first two games, clicked on all cylinders as they cruised past Washington Adventist 109-62 on Friday afternoon at C.C. Spaulding Gymnasium.
Five players scored in double figures for the Lady Bears, who improve to 2-1 on the season. Whitney King led all scorers with 21 points to go along with her eight rebounds. Crystal Wilson added 12 points for the Lady Bears on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor. Wilson also snagged down seven boards. Kearah Jeffreys, Sequoyah Griffin and Ronika Ransford scored 11 points apiece to contribute to the victory.
Ransford and Kennay Fleming each made their regular season debut for the Lady Bears. Crystal Wilson was back in the lineup after missing Tuesday night’s game against Tusculum.
“We’re satisfied with the effort that we had out there,” said Shaw head coach Jaques Curtis. “It’s all about chemistry right now. We are trying to find that chemistry this early in the season. Tomorrow will be our fourth game, so it’s about chemistry right now. We feel like we are on schedule, we just have to get games under our belt.”
It wasn’t always easy for the Lady Bears, who were designated as the visiting team in the opening day of the tournament.
Early on, the contest was pretty even by both squads as neither team was able to build much of a lead. The Lady Shock actually took an early 3-2 lead after a three-pointer by Briana McClain 39 seconds into the ballgame. After back-to-back buckets by Crystal Gordon and King, respectively, the Lady Bears held a slim 6-3 cushion.
Washington Adventist’s Angelica Nevarez drained a three-pointer to tie things up at six with 18:13 remaining in the first half.
Over the next nine minutes, the Lady Bears traded baskets with the Lady Shock and couldn’t get their lead higher than seven. After a bucket by Washington Adventist’s Vanessa Rice at the 9:05 mark of the first half, the Lady Bears held a narrow 27-23 lead, forcing a quick timeout.
After the timeout, the Lady Bears turned up their intensity on both sides of the ball as they closed out the first half on a 33-5 run to take a comfortable 60-28 lead at halftime.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, the Lady Bears outscored the Lady Shock 41-23 and held a 50-point cushion (101-51) with 5:28 remaining in the game. Adana David hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Lady Bears over the century mark.
Shaw’s biggest lead came at the 2:28 mark when they took a 51-point lead (105-54) after a layup by King.
“In the second half, we kind of got after it defensively,” explained Curtis. “We did the things that we wanted to do and got into our transition game. We ran some of our sets pretty well and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
All 12 Lady Bears players in uniform scored. The trio of Crystal Gordon, Taylor Dalrymple and David all came within two points of joining the five other Shaw players in double figures.
Gordon, who has emerged as a fan-favorite this season, scored eight points and snagged down nine rebounds. Dalrymple, playing in just her second game of the year, added eight points and seven rebounds of her own. David contributed with eight points and six boards.
The Lady Shock, who had just six players in uniform, had four score in double figures with Rice and Tiffani Wiles leading the way with 13 points apiece. Jerria Brown-McDaniel added 12 point and seven rebounds while McClain had 11 points.
With this win behind them, the Lady Bears will look to close out the Shaw Invitational with a 2-0 record as they host #17 Nova Southeastern at 5 p.m. in the opening game on Saturday night.
Curtis knows that beating the Sharks isn’t going to be an easy feat for the Lady Bears to accomplish.
“A win is a good win for this team,” said Curtis. “They don’t care who they’re playing. It’s a good win for us to get ready for Nova. I think it’s good to set the table for us tomorrow. Nova's game against Fayetteville State is a good test for them. Tomorrow should be a good test for us.”
Despite the 47-point victory over the Lady Shock, Curtis did see plenty that the Lady Bears need to improve on, especially when they take on Nova Southeastern on Saturday night.
“We have to work on our execution,” said Curtis. “We are trying to run our sets and we had times when ran them and we had times that we didn’t. Sometimes that’s tough when you’re up big like that. We are going to work on our execution. We have to be able to execute a whole lot better tomorrow to be able to compete with Nova. They’re in the top-20 just like we are in the top-20, so tomorrow’s going to be a battle.”
The Lady Shock, who fall to 0-11 on the season, will conclude the Shaw Invitational against Fayetteville State. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m.