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Friday, March 2, 2012


(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – March 2, 2012)  Bowie State had every answer for Shaw to start each half.  It was the rest of the game that was the problem.

Opening each period, Bowie State got off to a hot start to hold a lead over the Southern Division champion, only to have the Lady Bears respond with game-changing scoring runs as Shaw punched its ticket to its second straight CIAA Tournament final after a 59-44 victory over the Lady Bulldogs on Friday.

Kyria Buford, taking a cue from teammate Crystal Harris, poured in with five straight points to spark a 19-5 run that turned a slim 24-23 Bowie State edge early in the second half into a comfortable 42-29 Shaw advantage with 9:29 remaining in the game.

Shaw (22-6), the defending CIAA champion, led by as many as 15 points midway through the period, and was never threatened after that.

Buford finished with 11 points while Crystal Harris, who sparked Shaw’s big run in the first half, led all players with 17 points. Aslea Williams added 13 points.

Behind 6-foot-5 senior center Chanita Jordan, the second-seeded Lady Bulldogs (9-16) got off to a tremendous start, getting six points and three blocked shots from Jordan to spur a 12-3 run to start the game.

But Shaw responded behind the physical play off the bench by its reserve center Harris, who scored eight points in quick succession to revive the Bears, sparking an 18-6 run over the next 8 minutes to give Shaw a 21-18 lead with 1:44 to go in the period. The Bears led 23-20 at the half.

“They’re just a great team,” Bowie State first-year coach Renard Smith said of Shaw. “They’re far more experienced than we are and a lot deeper, and that showed when we experienced foul trouble.”

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t back down following the break, getting four points in a span of 25 seconds from Kim Jones to retake the lead.  But Buford hit a 3-pointer from the corner on the next trip down the floor, and then added a jumper from 18 feet to put the Bears back in front. Brittany Ransom added a 3 from the wing and after a three-point play from Harris and a pretty step-back jump shot from Brittney Spencer , Shaw was up by 13, 42-29.

“Chanita picked up her third foul, and that substitution, from about the 17-minute mark to the 12-minute mark, was the difference in the game,” Smith said. “That was the momentum swing.”

Jordan led Bowie State with 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots while senior Juliette Turner added nine points and nine rebounds.

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