Shaw University 150
Lady Bears

Athletic Highlights

Women's Basketball Claims National Crown

The beginning of the women's basketball season showed no signs of the heights the campaign would reach, nor the potential the team had to succeed.

The Lady Bears lost five of their first nine contests, earning a 4-5 record with a loss to New Mexico State. The team then rallied, winning ten straight games before dropping a 68-66 nail-biter to Johnson C. Smith. They closed out the regular season with another six wins heading into the CIAA Tournament.

Kyria Buford was named CIAA Defensive Player of the Year. She joined Aslea Williams and Sequoyah Griffin on the All-CIAA squad.

The Lady Bears had little difficulty at the CIAA Tournament, claiming their seventh title in ten years and their second straight title.

Shaw then opened NCAA play in Edinboro, PA, taking on West Virginia Wesleyan – the last unranked team they would face all year.

The squad, led by seven seniors, now had to face five straight ranked opponents in order to claim the national title. Not only that, but after downing Gannon – who had finished the season ranked 21st – the Lady Bears would face four opponents that finished the year in the top ten of the rankings … all while Shaw stayed just outside the top 25.

First of those to fall was #9 Edinboro, who Shaw defeated 70-53 to claim the Atlantic Region title and qualify for their second straight trip to the Elite Eight.

Pittsburg State – ranked sixth in the final poll – fell first in a hard-fought battle with the Lady Bears squeaking out a 61-58 win. Next came fifth-ranked Rollins, who Shaw handled easily with an 87-71 victory.

For the first time in Shaw history, Shaw would now be playing in the championship game. Between them and a national championship was the second ranked team in the nation – Ashland. Trailing 11 points at the half, Shaw battled back. With 25 seconds left in the game, Shaw would take a three-point lead, only to see Ashland tie it on a final last-second three.

With the momentum behind Ashland in the overtime, the Lady Bears did not falter. Midway through the overtime, the Lady Bears had built a seven-point lead and from there cruised to an 88-82 overtime victory and the school's first NCAA championship.

In recognition of this feat, head coach Jacques Curtis was named the DII Bulletin Coach of the Year – the first CIAA coach to ever claim that title.

When the final poll came out, the Lady Bears had vaulted from unranked to number one – all after an improbable journey for a team that started the season 4-5.