Shaw gets better of league rival
Early 18-2 run sets the tone but Shaw needs late surge for win
EDINBORO, Pa. -- Shaw downed CIAA rival Johnson C. Smith 74-54 to earn the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region title and a spot in the Elite Eight on Monday.
It was the fourth time the two teams met this season. Johnson C. Smith (26-5) won the two regular-season contests while Shaw (24-11) claimed the two post-season contests, first in the CIAA championship and then the regional title game held at McCombs Field House on the campus of Edinboro University.
Shaw broke on top early, fought off a furious charge from the Lady Golden Bulls and then built an increasing lead as the game ended
Early in the game, Shaw went on an 18-2 run to capture an 18-6 lead with 9:45 left in the half. The Lady Bears stretched the lead to 14 when Johnson C. Smith closed out the half on an 18-6 run to pull within a bucket going into the locker room at the half.
After giving up the bucket that tied the game at 30, the Lady Bears when on an 18-6 run to stretch the lead to 12.
With 7:55 left in the game, the Lady Golden Bulls pulled to within six on a Terrica Jones jumper. On the next play, Kyria Buford found Demaria Liles underneath the basket for a layup. Liles was fouled and sank the free throw. After getting the ball back, Buford again found Liles open, this time on the wing, and Liles sank the jumper.
The next time down the court, it was Buford who scored - with a 3 at the top of the key. With that 3 with 5:30 left in the game, the Lady Bears held a 14-point lead - which never slipped below 10 the rest of the game.
Buford finished the game with 24 points, while Liles had her second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Brittney Spencer and Brittany Ransom each added ten points, while Spencer collected a double-double of her own with 10 assists.
With the win, Shaw advances to the Elite Eight tournament in Saint Joseph, Mo. It will be Shaw's third trip to the Division II title round in six years. In both 2005 and 2006, the Lady Bears failed to get a win.
Shaw will take on Central Region champion Metro State (30-2) on Tuesday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET.