AGBASI BREAKS BLOCKS RECORD IN HAWKS' VICTORY ON SENIOR DAY
March 1, 2012
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Senior forward Adobi Agbasi (Columbus, Ga.) became the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s all-time women’s basketball blocks leader on Thursday night as the Hawks used a brilliant second-half rally to defeat Savannah State University, 47-42, at the William P. Hytche Center. Agbasi finished with five blocks, but it was her effort late in the game that was the difference in the Hawks’ win on Senior Day.
The record-breaking block by Agbasi occurred on the far side of the gym in the final minutes of the second-half, where the senior deterred a shot by Savannah State’s Alisha Nelson. During a media timeout minutes later, Agbasi was honored before 1,264 fans that rose to their feet and gave the senior a standing ovation for her accomplishment.
“It‘s a great honor,” said Agbasi. “Everyone has been really supportive of me the entire time. My teammates were really emotional after it happened. I think they wanted me to get the record even more than I did. It was a great night, I feel really honored.”
UMES (11-17, 8-8 MEAC) resurrected itself from a nine-point deficit late in the contest. The Hawks forced six turnovers and tallied 11 unanswered points across a six minute span in the second-half to take a 42-20 lead with 1:46 to play. A pair of free-throws by Savannah State (10-19, 3-13 MEAC) evened the score moments later, but Agbasi ripped down a huge offensive rebound and was immediately fouled after a successful layup.
She made a free-throw to complete the three-point play and the Hawks would hold onto the lead to solidify the Senior Day win.
With the win, UMES takes sole possession of 6th place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings. The Hawks victory, combined with losses by South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman, will slate them against the No. 11 seed in the upcoming MEAC Tournament. The Hawks will play in game No. 4 at 6:30 p.m., on Monday night.
UMES had three players tally double-digit points in the win. Junior Chelsea Sanders (Rochester, N.Y.) led the Hawks in scoring for the 16th time this season with a 12-point, five rebound effort. Agbasi chipped in with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while junior Karona Roach (Bear, Del.) reached double figures for the second consecutive game with 10 points.
Senior guard Amber Cook (Greensboro, N.C.) was solid in her final regular-season home game as she notched seven rebounds, five points and a game-high four assists.
The first-half was a defensive battle as the teams managed to score just 12 points apiece across the first 15 minutes of action. With the score tied at 12 all, SSU notched five consecutive points to take a 17-12 lead with just over a minute remaining.
The Hawks used a three points by Roach and a jumper by Agbasi in the final seconds to knot the game up, 17-17, at intermission.
The game remained deadlocked for the first few minutes of second-half action, before Savannah State went on a 8-0 run to take a 29-21 lead with 15:39 left. The Hawks would slowly erase its deficit across the next few minutes as two consecutive free-throw shots by Sanders brought the score to within two, 29-27, with 13 to go.
Aside from a three by senior guard Kwinnyata Mercer (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.), it was all Tigers over the next five minutes of action.
SSU appeared to have run away with the game following an 11-4 run, but a resilient UMES defense went on to hold SSU without a field-goal over the last 8:03 of play. The stifling Hawks defense, combined with two jumpers by Roach and four critical free-throws by Agbasi, proved to be too much for the Tigers to handle.
Savannah State was paced by Ezinne Kalu’s 14 points. The Tigers also saw good performances from Nelson (eight rebounds) and Rikiah Gibbs (three steals).
UMES held a 16-4 advantage in second chance points, while the Hawks tallied 17 points off of turnovers.