Lady Trojans' Rout Bulldogs In Dominating Fashion
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Jan 30, 2014, 10:08
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
ETTRICK — Taking the court with the program's highest national ranking, No. 14 Virginia State stared down a Bowie State squad which had lost nine of its last 11 games and the Lady Trojans made sure the streak would continue.
All it took was 42 seconds for Bulldogs' head coach Renard Smith to call a timeout as the Lady Trojans scored on their first two possessions with relative ease while Bowie State could not get a good look at the basket.
However, the tide would slowly shift in the middle of the first half as Bowie State executed an 11-3 run, hammered down with an exclamation 3-pointer by Denver Clyde to pull within two points, 22-20.
Yet, that would be as close as the Bulldogs would come all evening as the Lady Trojans responded with an 8-2 run just moments later to begin pulling away in an eventual rout of the Bulldogs, 94-72, at Daniel Gymnasium.
"It's something we talked about yesterday in practice," Virginia State head coach James Hill said following his team's win. "We knew Bowie was going to come hard for us. Like you said, when you're ranked, people come at you even harder. I just told our girls that we had to maintain our composure and make sure they don't get any sustained runs on us."
In fact, following the first half run by the Bulldogs (7-11), it was the Lady Trojans (16-1) who continually showed the mark of a good team with a killer instinct for much of the game. And it's the great teams who dominate the last five minutes of a first half and first five minutes of the second half which the Lady Trojans did effectively.
Pryncess Tate-Dublin scored five consecutive points — three of those on the conventional 3-point play — while Cana Marriott added four of her 8 points on the night during an extended 14-5 run to close the first half, putting the Lady Trojans ahead by 13 points.
Following the break, Virginia State picked up where they left off in the first half, riding Tiffanie Adair's inside presence and Alexandria Massado's — she scored 9 points on 4-of-6 shooting — driving ability to orchestrate a 13-3 run to start the second half, all but clinching the victory with a commanding 61-38 lead.
"We talk about something that we call the five-minute run," Hill said. "Right before half time and the start of the second half, we attack with that same mindset. We feel if we can combine them together, we have a good chance of being ahead at the end."
And for a Lady Trojans squad which has just one blemish on a gaudy record, it's been a rare moment where they have had to climb back into a game. Hill's squad has weapons from all over the court and different players can carry the team on different days, making them a dangerous team to contend with.
Against Bowie State, it was not Adair who put her mark on the game even though she finished with 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting while hauling in four rebounds, but it was Tate-Dublin.
The senior entered the match-up scoring just 4.8 points per game, but exploded by that mark with 15 of her 20 points coming in the first half of play while shooting a remarkable 8-of-10 from the field. Tate-Dublin even finished off two and-1 plays, showing an ability to finish with physicality.
"Tate's a big-time player. She just needs to come out to play," Hill said of the senior. "She needs to stop thinking so much. She transferred from ODU and she's always been known to be a scorer. She just needs to play the game and stop thinking so much."
However, Tate-Dublin was not alone in the Lady Trojans' second-highest scoring game of the season. While Tate-Dublin carried much of the scoring load during the first 20 minutes, Lamesha Deal carried it in the second, scoring 16 of her game-high 24 points.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
Deal's offensive outburst on 10-of-14 shooting was a lesson in offensive productivity as she scored in a variety of ways including post-ups, mid-range jumpers, long-range jumpers and artistic drives to the basket. Yet, Hill said the 24-point, eight-rebound effort is just a starting point for the senior.
"I have to talk to her about it because she coasted too much," Hill said. "She tweaked her ankle in the first half and it was bothering her a lot, but she said she wanted to stay in the game."
Staying in the game has been a problem for opponent's of the Lady Trojans all season. Hill's squad has dominated opposition, ranking both second in defense and offense in the CIAA. However, the regular season mean's nothing for Virginia State.
"We talk about staying where we're at and not losing to teams below .500 because it hurts you in the regional rankings," Hill said. "We don't want to be one of the teams that are bumped out at the end. We want the NCAA Tournament appearance."
With a game-by-game mantra, Hill's squad is always focused on the task at hand, putting them in good position to check off their final goal as the season heads toward its conclusion.