SANDERS, AGBASI POWER UMES TO ROAD VICTORY OVER OLD DOMINION 63-59
Dec. 21, 2011
NORFOLK, Va. - Junior forward Chelsea Sanders (Rochester, N.Y.) tied a career-high with 22 points and four assists as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore took down Old Dominion University with a 63-59 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Ted Constant Convention Center, one of the toughest places to play in women's basketball.
The game proved to be a career-high effort for several Lady Hawks, who used a resilient 2-3 defense to limit the Monarchs to a 3-for-22 performance from three-point range in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
The Lady Hawks defeated the Lady Monarchs in Norfolk, where Old Dominion has nearly an 84% winning percentage in its history.
"Our kids stepped up and took control of the challenge," said coach Fred Batchelor. "This win is huge for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. This win is probably bigger than we even imagine."
The women trailed in the early stages of the contest as three jumpers by Old Dominion in the first three minutes of the game provided them with a 6-2 lead. A layup by sophomore forward Shanyce Stewart (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) gave UMES its first lead, 14-13, at the 8:38 mark before the squads traded baskets over the next few minutes.
Adobi Agbasi (Columbus, Ga.) found a hot hand as she registered the next five points to give the Maroon and Gray a three point lead, 21-18, with just under six minutes to go in the first. A three-pointer by Mercer upped the lead to six, but ODU used six consecutive points to tie the score. It did not last long as Agbasi went down the court and tallied a layup to send UMES into halftime with a two point lead, 26-24.
It was a lead the Lady Hawks would never relinquish.
UMES built a lead of up to six points twice through the first six minutes of second-half play. The Lady Hawks held a 34-28 advantage after junior guard Karona Roach (Bear, Del.) nailed a jumper at the 14:08 mark.
A layup by ODU's Tina Lewis capped a 5-0 run to bring the game to within one, 35-34 with eleven to go
UMES would not miss a field goal for the next six minutes of play where the women elevated their lead to eight after Sanders buried a three and Agbasi found nylon in the paint.
UMES held a seven point lead with just under one minute to go. ODU scored six consecutive points within a 30-second span to bring their deficit to just one with 29 seconds to go. Senior guard Kwinyatta Mercer made a pair of huge 1-in-1 free throws to give the Lady Hawks a 62-59 lead. Two seconds later, sophomore forward Shanyce Stewart intercepted an errant Monarch pass to hand UMES its first victory over a Colonial Athletic Association opponent this season.
In the second half, UMES shot 13-of-26 from the field.
Sanders and Agbasi led the charge for the women but it was the fantastic play off the bench by Braxton and freshman guard Jessica Long (Fort Washington, Md.) that made the difference. The pair handled the point guard position well, where they directed the offense and overcame strong play by the Monarch front court.
"Our guard play was critical," said Batchelor. "We were able to set screens up top and it loosened the play of the women. I think that Braxton and Long were fantastic in filling in for us, they really made the difference. Big players step up in big games. I think Chelsea Sanders was outstanding today as well. She did an outstanding job."
Along with her 22 points and four assists, Sanders had six rebounds and a pair of steals. Agbasi and Braxton each collected career-highs in points with 19 and eight, respectively, with Agbasi shooting 9-11 from the field.
ODU was paced by the double-double effort of Lewis, who had a game-high 12 rebounds and 11 points. JoNiqua Guilford had a team-high 14 points, while Ashley Betz-White had four steals.
UMES will stay on the road for its next contest when the women travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest University on Thursday, December 29 at 2:00 p.m.