No. 4 Chowan Pulls Away for Late 75-70 Win Over No. 5 Saint Augustine's
Charlotte, NC (February 27, 2018) – The Chowan Hawks (19-8) had to dig deep to open the 2018 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women's Basketball Championship in a big way with a 75-70 win over the Saint Augustine's Falcons (19-8). The Hawks were able to battle back after being down against a Falcons team that just refused to quit against the regionally ranked Hawks.
"We knew this was not going to be a blow out," Chowan head coach LaToya Jones said. "We knew we were going to be in a fight. We've been in a fight all season and this was no different for us and I'm happy that we were able to persevere just like we have before."
Chowan took the win behind a solid overall team effort. Sophomore guard Mariah Coker and junior forward Danielle Weldon both scored 17 points to lead the way for the Hawks. Senior guard Chantel Roberts added a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds while Joanne Williams added a double-double of her own with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Saint Augustine's was led by sophomore guard Quiera Gilmore who totaled 19 points in the game. Sophomore forward Kaaliya Williams added 14 points.
The first half was a thrilling one with the Hawks ant the Falcons both showing a lot of fight in both quarters. The quarter began with a strong defensive effort from both teams as neither team score until the Falcons hit a lay-up with 8:11 left in the quarter. The two teams battled back and forth with a pair of ties before the Hawks took frontal of the game with a 15-10 lead after a pair of free throws from Weldon at the 2:10 mark. The final two minutes of the quarter belonged to the Falcons with the team cutting their deficit down to a point, 15-14 after a jumper from Gilmore with 1:01 left. Chowan would not back down, however, as they took a 17-16 lead at the end of the quarter.
While defense ruled the first quarter of play, both teams broke out offensively in the second quarter. Chowan broke out first with an offensive barrage to take the largest lead of the game, 32-23, after a lay-up from Joanne Williams with 2:52 left in the half. The remainder of the half belonged to the Falcons as foul troubles and some pesky Falcon defense sparked a 15-1 run by the Falcons that included the team hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to take a 38-33 lead at the half.
The excitement of the first half carried over into the second half with a thrilling with the third quarter bringing as much drama as the first two. For the second straight period, the Hawks utilize a stifling defense with some solid offense to take an early lead, but the Falcons once again clawed their way back into the game. The Hawks struck first with a 7-3 run that was capped by a lay-up from Chantal Roberts that left the Hawks on top, 41-38, with 8:40 left in the quarter. From there, the Falcons woke up and tied the game 41-41 after a free throw from senior forward Tomisha Davis with 8:06 left in the quarter. The remainder of the quarter was a thrilling one with neither team going ahead by more than two points. The final seconds of the quarter belonged to the Falcons when a steal from senior guard Keashe Lee with eight seconds left led to a jumper from Paulette Addison at the buzzer that left the Falcons with a 60-59 lead.
The game came down to a thrilling fourth quarter. Early in the quarter, the Hawks took advantage of their interior strength to limit the Falcons' possessions and worked their way into a 67-62 after a lay-up from Joanne Williams with 5:40 left to play. Though the Hawks had the benefit of depth and were able to build a five-point lead, the Falcons would not go away as they worked their deficit down to just three points after a Gilmore jumper with 1:28 left to play. In the final minute, the Hawks played keep-away and went four-for-four from the free throw line to claim the 75-70 win.
With the win, the Hawks exercised some personal demons after taking an opening round loss last season. "This season, we had a different approach" Chowan head coach Jones said. "In think that the way that this season has gone and all the adversity that we've already went through just made us strong mentally."
With the win, the Hawks improve to 19-8 for the season. The Falcons fall to 7-19. The Hawks will advance to take on the top-seeded Virginia Union in a 2:20 p.m., game at the Bojangles' Coliseum.