Lady Trojans Dispatch Chowan
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Feb 13, 2014, 12:52
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
ETTRICK — Riding a nine-game winning streak and having won all 11 games in the comfort of Daniel Gymnasium, the No. 13 ranked Virginia State women's basketball team took to the court in their annual Play 4 Kay game as they faced Chowan University Wednesday afternoon.
The Lady Trojans had encountered a tough stretch of games of late, squeaking out a one-point win over Saint Augustine University and needed two overtimes to get past Virginia Union last weekend. In front of them was a Hawks squad which had compiled impressive wins this season and aimed to add another to the mantle by defeating Virginia State.
However, the No. 1 ranked HBCU team in the Mid-Major Poll — the first distinction of its kind in program history — had other ideas during a see-saw first half of action which witnessed 11 lead changes in all before a Cana Marriott steal and lay-in gave the Lady Trojans a 19-17 lead with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Chowan University would answer the Marriott score with five consecutive points from Alisha Mobley who scored a game-high 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting on the afternoon. Yet, the Hawks would lose the lead for good at the 18:23 mark of the second half on Shakirah Gray's only made field goal of them game, helping to send Virginia State to a hard-fought 51-47 win.
Although the Lady Trojans (20-1, 11-1) continued their win-streak, it was far from a forgone conclusion for much of the game. In fact, during a first half which saw Virginia State climbing an uphill battle for much of the 20 minutes, they shot a frigid 38 percent from the field while the Hawks (11-13, 5-7) stayed ahead with a 3-of-7 effort from beyond the arc in the half.
However, it was in the final 20 minutes where the Lady Trojans set the tone which would eventually lead to their win. Pryncess Tate-Dublin scored the first two buckets of the game for the Lady Trojans, but did not register another point for the final 18:17 of the first half.
In the second, she again opened the scoring with a long jumper right inside the 3-point arc. It seemed to propel the Trojans toward pushing the ball up the court and trying to penetrate into the paint.
Point guard Jessica Lyons did just that as she corralled a rebound on the defensive end and immediately sped up the court, going coast-to-coast, weaving herself in between defenders before making the basket and drawing the foul. Lyons would miss her free-throw attempt, but would finish the game with a team-high 12 points on 3-of-8 shooting while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Yet, Chowan University never relented throughout the game as they tied the contest for the final time at the 10:42 mark of the second half on another Mobley basket which was preceded by a Naima Harrington turnaround jumper for two of her 6 points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting afternoon.
Once again, Tate-Dublin answered with four consecutive points, bringing her scoring total on the game to 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. But the game still hung in the balance before the final media timeout.
The Hawks Summer Curtis finished a driving lay-up through traffic with 7:28 remaining to cut the deficit to 38-36. Then, Marriott once again made her presence felt, picking up her second steal of the game before racing down the length of the court for a lay-in.
The Marriott score was followed by three consecutive points from Lamesha Deal who scored 9 points on a 4-of-10 shooting effort from the feed, capping off a 9-2 run and giving the Lady Trojans their largest lead of the game at the 3:14 mark of the second half.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
The Lady Trojans would make just 3-of-5 free throws to end the game while allowing the Hawks to creep closer, but it was too late to complete a comeback.
Virginia State's Tiffanie Adair added 6 points on 3-of-7 shooting while grabbing five rebounds to add to their advantage on the glass, winning the rebounding battle by a 37 to 28 margin.
Nine different Chowan players scored in the loss as the Hawks shot 42 percent from the field compared to Virginia State's 39.6 percent. The Lady Trojans made 7-of-12 from the free throw line while the Hawks attempted just four shots in the entire game.
The Lady Trojans scored 26 points in the paint, converted 15 Hawks turnovers into 10 points and recorded 11 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.
Virginia State's next game is a 5:30 p.m. road tilt at Elizabeth City State on Saturday . The Vikings have lost four of their previous five games.