LADY HAWKS TOP 5 MOMENTS OF THE 2013-14 SEASON
April 3, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Three weeks ago (03/13), the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) women’s basketball team’s season came to an end at the hands of Coppin State University (CSU) in the quarter-final round of the MEAC Tournament in Norfolk, Va. Despite an up-and-down season, the Lady Hawks captured unforgettable moments and gave the UMES faithful hope as they look to compete for the MEAC Championship next season.
Looking back on last season, the young squad grew as a team and continued to battle through the tough times, pulling off many would call “upsets.” Let’s flashback to UMES’ top five moments from a season ago:
#1: JESSICA LONG’S GAME-WINNER IN OVERTIME TO LIFT UMES OVER GEORGE MASON
In arguably, one of the best moments not only in the women’s basketball season, but the entire basketball season overall; junior guard Jessica Long (Fort Washington, Md.) nailed the game-winner as time expired versus the Patriots of George Mason University in overtime to give UMES their first victory over an Atlantic-10 (A-10) opponent during the Coach Fred Batchelor era, 93-91.
Trailing double-digits at the half, 39-29, the Lady Hawks went on an 18-8 run to open the second period and tied the contest, 47-47, after a fast-break layup from sophomore guard Chalyse Taylor (Louisville, Ky.) with over 14 minutes in regulation. George Mason’s Janaa Pickard regained the lead for the Patriots after two made free-throws, 49-47, but a three-pointer from junior guard Shawnee Sweeney (Chester, Va.) gave UMES their first lead of the game with less than 13 minutes to play, 50-49. With just over three minutes to go, George Mason led, 70-66, until sophomore forward/center Alexis Udoji (Randolph, Mass.) hit two free-throws to cut the lead in half, 70-68. With only 26 seconds left in regulation, the Lady Hawks trailed, 75-72, until a three-point play from Udoji tied the game, 75-75, forcing overtime.
In overtime, a layup from George Mason’s Talisha Watts gave the Patriots an early advantage, 77-75, until back-to-back free-throws from Long tied the game, 77-77. With over four minutes to go, the Patriots’ Talisha Watts regained the lead for George Mason after a three-point play, 80-77. With more than three minutes left, the game was deadlocked, 82-82, after a free-throw by senior forward Shanyce Stewart (Mount Vernon, NY). Next, a Long free-throw gave UMES their first lead in overtime, 83-82, but George Mason recaptured the lead after Watt’s layup, 84-83. A three-point play from Udoji would put the Lady Hawks back in front, 86-84, but George Mason’s Taylor Brown scored on a layup and tied the game, 86-86. With less than a minute-and-a-half to go, the Lady Hawks had a five-point lead, 91-86, until the Patriots rallied five straight points, including a three-pointer by George Mason’s Reana Mohamed, and tied the game, 91-91. With only 24 seconds remaining, Coach Batchelor requested a timeout to talk things over. After UMES’ timeout, Long holds the ball and lets the game clock dwindle down to five ticks before making her move to the basket where she hits the game-winning floater and lifted the Lady Hawks past George Mason, 93-91.
In the game, four Lady Hawks scored double-digit points, led by Long registering 27 points, including the game-winner. Udoji and sophomore forward Ashleigh Claybrooks (Manassas, VA) each registered double-doubles as Udoji tallied 19 points and 11 boards while Claybrooks came off the bench and inked 14 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
#2: TEAMBER BURKE’S LAST SECOND SHOT SENDS UMES INTO OVERTIME; LADY HAWKS COMEBACK TO KNOCK OFF DSU
Burke’s game-tying shot against Delaware State University (DSU) as time expired could easily be the top play of the UMES season for a few reasons. First, the importance of the contest as the winner secured the eleventh-seed in the MEAC Tournament. Second, a Maryland Eastern Shore loss would have forced UMES to face Florida A&M University (FAMU) in the opening round of the tournament, the only MEAC team they have not faced this season along with MEAC Player of the Year, Jasmine Grice. Finally, both institutions are only 90 minutes apart, separated by rt.13, so bragging rights were on the line.
A put-back from freshman guard Mariah McCoy (Rock Hill, S.C.) scored the first two points in the second period for UMES, 33-27, but the Lady Hornets scored eight unanswered points to increase their lead to double-digits, 41-27. With less than 12 minutes go, Delaware State had a thirteen-point lead, 47-34, until Maryland Eastern Shore made a rally, sparked by sophomore guard TeAmber Burke (Washington, N.C.). In the next four minutes, the Lady Hawks went on a 19-8 run to cut the deficit to three, 49-46. DSU regained the momentum as they pushed the lead back to seven, 55-48, with less than five minutes in the game.
In the waning minutes, UMES stormed back and tied the contest after back-to-back clutch free-throws from Claybrooks, 57-57, with eight ticks left. In five seconds, the Lady Hornets’ Jade Washington hit a layup for the go-ahead lead, 59-57, leaving Maryland Eastern Shore with little chance to respond. With exactly 0.3 on the clock, Long threw a three-quarters court pass to Burke and she nailed the jump shot as time expired to send the game into overtime, 59-59.
In the extra period, Claybrooks scored the first bucket to give UMES the early lead, 61-59, but a layup from DSU’s Tylinn Carter tied the game, 61-61. Nearly two-and-a-half minutes into overtime, both clubs were deadlocked, 65-65, until a freebie from Long gave the Lady Hawks the go-ahead lead, 66-65. Long nailed clutch free-throws down the stretch and sealed the comeback for Maryland Eastern Shore, 74-71.
In the contest, McCoy led the charge for the Lady Hawks as she finished with a team-high 21 points, including 9-of-14 from the floor, while Burke added 13 points, including the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime.
#3: LADY HAWKS PULL OFF UPSET OVER NORFOLK STATE IN MEAC TOURNAMENT
After their huge victory over Delaware State, the Lady Hawks earned the eleventh-seed in the MEAC Tournament and face the No. 6 seed Norfolk State University (NSU) in the opening round. Prior to the contest, the Spartans swept UMES in the regular-season and looked to end Maryland Eastern Shore’s season on a bitter note. Sadly, NSU did not get the memo and the Lady Hawks had other plans.
Over four minutes into the second period, the Spartans opened on a 16-4 run to increase their halftime lead, 45-32, the largest of the game. In the next five minutes, Maryland Eastern Shore fought back as they cut the deficit to three, 49-46, after going on a 14-4 run. The Spartans withstood UMES rally as they went on another run, 7-3, to create separation, but the Lady Hawks continued to claw away at the lead.
In the final moments, Maryland Eastern Shore reclaimed the lead for the first time since the 3:20 mark back in the first period after a layup from Udoji, 65-64. At this moment, the Lady Hawks matured before the UMES faithful eyes as they nailed 5-of-6 free-throws down the stretch to seal the upset, 70-66.
In the competition, Sweeney had a team-high 18 points, including 4-of-7 from downtown, while Burke notched 17 points and a team-high four assists. Other notable Hawk performances included Claybrooks coming off the bench scoring 13 points, including 6-of-8 from the floor, whereas Long added eight points in the win.
#4: LADY HAWKS PICK UP FIRST CONFERENCE VICTORY OVER NC CENTRAL
Entering their contest versus North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Maryland Eastern Shore was winless in conference play, including a heartbreaking loss at Howard University, 77-75 (OT), back in January where the team saw a 21-point lead evaporate in the second half. After the Howard game, UMES went 1-2 with their lone victory coming in non-conference action against New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), 68-61. Nearly halfway through MEAC play, the Lady Hawks needed a win in league play and got it.
UMES trailed the Lady Eagles early, 11-6, until Maryland Eastern Shore stormed back to take the lead, 15-13, after a jumper from sophomore forward/center Taylor Thompson (Chapel Hill, N.C.) with less than 12 minutes before intermission. In the next four minutes, UMES balloon the lead to nine, 24-15, until NCCU cut the deficit to five, 25-20. In the final eight minutes of the half, the Lady Hawks clamped down on the defensive end, forcing 13 first half Lady Eagles’ turnovers, and ended on a 15-4 run to take the intermission lead, 40-24.
In the second period, the Lady Eagles narrowed the gap as low as twelve, but Maryland Eastern Shore constantly responded and grew the lead as much as eighteen, 65-47, including a jumper by Thompson, with nearly four-and-a-half left in regulation. NCCU made a late run, but UMES was able to hit their free-throws down the stretch to pick-up their first MEAC victory of the season, 72-57.
In the game, Claybrooks provided the low-post presence for the Lady Hawks as she ended her night with 16 points and 10 boards while Udoji filled the stat sheet, recording 11 points, seven rebounds, and a career-high seven assists. Other notable Hawk performances included Long registering 14 points and five dimes whereas Sweeney and sophomore forward/center Taryana Kelly (North Brunswick, N.J.) combined for 17 points and 10 boards in the victory.
#5: LADY HAWKS CRUISE PAST RETRIEVERS FOR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
You always remember your first taste of success. In this case, the Lady Hawks earned their first win of the season against the University of Maryland Baltimore-County (UMBC) at the RAC Arena. Before their matchup versus the Retrievers, UMES entered 0-2 on the season with two tough losses versus USC-Upstate and American University. Maryland Eastern Shore was also facing history as the program has never defeated UMBC at their place, dating back to 1982. On this day, the Lady Hawks changed everything.
In the first half, the Lady Hawks jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after back-to-back threes by Sweeney, forcing UMBC to use a timeout. A Long free-throw extended the lead to seven, 7-0, until UMBC’s Sara Tarbert scored on a layup to put the Retrievers on the board, 7-2. A Taylor three-pointer pushed the lead to eight, 10-2, with less than 16 minutes remaining in the half. UMBC trailed, 13-6, but back-to-back jumpers by Claybrooks extended the lead to double-digits, 17-6. With less than 10 minutes before intermission, the Retrievers were down, 19-10, and then went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to three, 21-18, with over five minutes to play in the first period. Next, UMES closed out the half on an 11-2 run to push the lead to double-digits, 32-20.
In the second half, the Lady Hawks began the half on a 10-2 run and pushed the lead to twenty, 42-22. UMBC Head Coach Phil Stern requested a 30-second timeout to slow down the Lady Hawks’ momentum. After the timeout, the Retrievers drilled a three-pointer to cut into UMES’ lead, 42-25, with exactly 16 minutes left. Then, UMBC would go on a 12-5 run to cut the deficit down to ten, 47-37, with a more over nine minutes remaining. A Taylor three-pointer followed by a UMBC turnover, which led to points, put the Lady Hawks back in control, 52-37. Next, UMES’ run continued after going on a 10-5 run to push the lead back to twenty, 62-42, with four-and-a-half remaining. With less than a minute to go, the Lady Hawks lead grew as much as twenty-four, 68-44, after Sweeney hit her seventh three-pointer of the afternoon. A late free-throw by the Retrievers made the final score, 68-45.
In the contest, four Lady Hawks scored in double-digits, led by Sweeney recording a career-high 22 points, including seven three-pointers. Long added 11 points and a game-high six assists while Claybrooks registered her first-career double-double as she tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds. Other notable Hawk performances included Udoji grabbing 12 rebounds while chipping in five points, four steals, and two blocks. Taylor made her first start of the season and netted 11 points, including three triples in the win.
There were so many moments in the 2013-14 season in which you could debate deserves to be in the top five, such as Maryland Eastern Shore’s 45-point victory over Morgan State University (MSU), 91-46, where six Lady Hawks registered double-digit points. Individual performances, including McCoy’s 27 points in the win over NJIT or Stewart’s 20-rebound performance in the victory over Lincoln (Pa.) University. Another example, the Lady Hawks significant win over Howard, 66-57, for UMES Homecoming in front of 3,016 screaming fans. All these are great highlights and worthy to be among the best from a season ago.
Gazing into next season, Maryland Eastern Shore looks to make more unforgettable moments as they return 13 players, including the team’s top two scorers, Long and Sweeney. UMES loses seniors Stewart and Breonna Evans (Melfa, Va.) due to graduation.
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