Virginia State Pounds Defending Champ Shaw; Advances to CIAA Championship Game

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  (Feb. 27, 2015) – Virginia State's Dashae Jones scored 17 points and led four Lady Trojans scorers in double figures, as the Trojans pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent history of the CIAA tournament with a crushing 69-47 win over four time defending champion, Shaw University in the second semi-final of the afternoon at Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte.

Shaw opened the scoring with an inside basket by Umeka Benson, and after two failed possesions from Virginia State, Shaw's Verdine Warner gave Shaw a 6-0 lead after a made jump shot and free throws.

Virginia State would finally get going after a made three pointer from Dashae Jones, followed by a three from Cana Marriott to tie the game at 6-6.

The contest would go back and forth for the next few minutes, before the Virginia State Lady Trojans would force their will on the four time defending champions.

Virginia State would get contributions from everyone on the floor, as they would stun Shaw with an incredible 25-5 run over the next 10 minutes to take a strong hold on the game.

The Shaw Bears could not get a basket to fall, while the Trojans were red hot from both the outside and inside.

The Trojans would keep their foot on the gas, and at the half, took a 19 point lead into the locker room at halftime, 35-16.

Virginia State would not let up as the second half began, and through the first five minute stretch of the half, had increased their already large halftime lead to 23 points by the first media timeout.

Shaw would try to battle back, but he hot shooting Trojans continued to light up the Time Warner Cable Arena nets, and maintained the lead of at least 20 points by the next media timeout.

VSU was determined on this night, and their play showed as Shaw would be no match on the night. Virginia State held the biggest lead of the night at 28 points with 3:24 left to play (69-41), and would coast the rest of the way for the 69-47 upset win.

The Trojans outrebounded the Shaw Bears 49-37, and held the Bears to just 9% from the three point arc (1-11).

With the win Virginia State improves to 18-9 overall, while the Shaw Bears end their season at 19-10.

Virginia State was led in scoring by Dashae Jones, who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Cana Marriott added 12 points and five rebounds, and Tiffanie Adair and Wynterra Pittman chipped in 10 points each.  Adair also pulled down six rebounds, while Pittman added eight rebounds, four steals, three blocked shots and two assists.

Shaw was led by 2014-15 CIAA Women's Player of the Year, Verdine Warner, who finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots. Umeka Benson added nine points, six rebounds and three steals. Micah Brooks chipped in seven points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.

The loss was the first for Shaw University in five years and two days, covering a 14-game span and four consecutive championships.

Virginia State's last CIAA Tournament Title came in 2002, when Peggy Davis, current VSU Director of Athletics, coaches the Trojans to the title.

The Lincoln University has never won a CIAA Tournament Title.

The CIAA women's basketball final will be televised on the Aspire Network, and tipoff is scheduled for 4:00pm.



VSU Coach, James Hill Jr.

We had one thing that we were focusing on – we wanted to play two solid 20 minutes halves. We had to stick with our game plan, and don't get into a track meet with them. We wanted to run our offense and use as much time on the shot clock as possible.

Jacques and I go way back. Jacques gave me my first opportunity to coach on the college level. I was blessed to be a part of three championships with him and I have learned a lot from him. He prepared me well for this stage.

We decided out game plan was going to be we wanted someone else to beat us. We didn't want Verdine Warner to get 24 and 14… We thought if we could keep her under 20 points we would do well.

This feels great for me and our team. We have played Shaw in the final four of the nine years I have been at VSU, and to finally beat your big brother is a blessed feeling.

We have to make some plans to get some film study in tonight for tomorrow's game.

We are going to definitely need balance against Lincoln. But we are a balanced team. We don't rely solely on our post to score, we have some guard who can shoot and score the ball. 

We know its going to be a tough battle against Lincoln. We split during the regular season. They won at our place, and we knew going up to their place we needed a win in order to tie for the division championship.

Shaw Coach, Jacques Curtis

You have to give credit to Virginia State and their game plan.

The game was kind of like we expected. They can shoot the ball well, and our thing is to play zone. We hope to push them out and force them to take bad jump shots, but tonight they were hot and hit a lot of tough shots.

We had to get out of character. WE like to stay in zone. But they forced us to play some man, and that's not our thing. We just were never able to get the lead down enough to where we could get back to zone and sit in it.

We are Shaw women's basketball. They are going to keep their heads up. Losing one game in the tournament does not define who we are. We will be ready to come back next year and compete for another title.

We lost to a good team with a good game plan tonight. There is no need for us to hang our heads.