SAN ANTONIO – In most circumstances, when you hear a coach talk about not being able to employ his jumbo offense and how his bigs dominating up front, is usually isn’t talking about women’s college basketball. But then again not many teams have the front Shaw head coach Jacques Curtis has.

2012 DII CHAMPIONSHIPS
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Highlights

Shaw relentlessly went inside against Rollins with exceptional results. Front-line starters Kyria Buford and Aslea Williams and reserve Crystal Harris each had double-doubles in an impressive 87-71 victory in the Division II women’s basketball championship Wednesday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

The Bears (28-6) will face Ashland in the championship game Friday night. They beat Bentley, 77-62, to run their winning streak to 33 games.

The paint belonged to Shaw. The Bears outscored them 48-36 and scored 37 second-chance points to Rollins’ nine. Making life miserable for Rollins was Harris with 24 points and 14 rebounds. She was followed by Buford (22-10) and Williams (12-14).

There were no scores through the first two minutes. Then Shaw started rolling, dumping the ball inside and taking off on a 13-4 start. Building a lead as large as 22 at one point, Shaw survived mini spurts from Rollins, but was never really threatened the rest of the way.

“We wanted to start off well,” Curtis said. “We got a good lead early and was able to kind of ride it out. Crystal played big [Wednesday] as well as Aslea and Kyria. That’s what we kind of go with. We go with our bigs. Our bigs got it done tonight. They get after it. They did a good job [Wednesday].

“That’s our game,” Curtis said. “Our guards are a lot better than anyone thinks because they have to give up some of their game because we’re an inside team first. We took nine threes tonight which is just about where we want to be, maybe a little bit less. Our guards did a good job feeding the post.”

Which had another effect on Rollins. They used up so much energy defending the post, Rollins (28-6) wore itself out trying to get below double digits. Rollins gave it a fight, but did not have enough to put any real pressure on Shaw.

“Because they shoot the three ball so well,” Curtis said. “We know [Shaw] is never really out of the game. We were hoping to hold on during those runs because we know they are going to have to burn some energy and try to maintain our double-digit lead. We tried to keep it around 15. There was no quit in them. They were very aggressive and got after it. We beat a good team tonight and it feels good to be advancing.”

Rollins is OK with Shaw advancing. Head coach Glen Wilkes was proud of the way his women played, but knew early on his team was in trouble.

“We dug ourselves a hole early and that’s to Shaw’s credit,” Wilkes said. “We didn’t hit some shots we normally hit, and when we got down, we started kind of pressing. We really had a bad first half.

“To Shaw’s credit, they hurt us on the boards. That’s very huge because it is unusual for us to be outrebounded. We were totally dominated down low. Again, that’s to Shaw’s credit. There’s a reason they have haven’t lost but one game since Christmas. They’re tough to handle.”

Because Shaw could hurt a team in so many ways. If you try to stop them on the glass, the guards will eat you up. If you try to disrupt the backcourt, the passes into the post are its lifeblood. If ever there was a pick your poison team, it is Shaw.

“We hadn’t seen that many bigs this year,” Wilkes said. “We can double down one, and we’ll double one big and another big will get the weakside rebound. We’re not used to seeing two or three bigs at the same time.

“It was tough for us. Our strength is our guard play. Shaw just hit us where it hurts. They’re  bigger, stronger and they exploited us. When you get down this far in this kind of tournament, whatever your weakness is, it gets exploited. And that’s what happened to us.”