Jan. 2, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE , NC - Fayetteville State scored the game's first 12 points and never surrendered the advantage against Chowan on Thursday, a 58-50 win that launched both the new year and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference schedule.
Deja Middleton scored 19 points, Amber Calvinchipped in with 15 and the Lady Broncos (8-2 overall, 1-0 CIAA) were never really threatened outside of the Hawks' last-minute rally that cut a once 22-point lead into the game-ending eight-point margin.
"First conference game, a very very important game because it was the first conference game and we were playing at home," FSU coach Eva Patterson-Heathsaid. "It was important to us to come out and, even though we haven't played (since Dec. 21 against Florida Southern), we knew our timing may be off, but our energy and our effort could make up for that. I felt like we came out and missed some shots, but our defensive effort was in the direction we want."
The defensive effort limited the Hawks (6-5, 0-1) to 31.8 percent shooting (14-of-44) for the ballgame and just 23.8 percent (5-of-21) in the first half.
Despite falling behind early, Chowan was able to not let things get too far out of hand in the first half. The halftime deficit, in fact, was a reasonable 34-21. But a quick spurt leading off the second period changed the dynamic of the game. What was once a reasonable margin became 41-21 lead before Chowan scored again.
"We always want to start out strong," Middleton said. "When you start off right, it's easier to finish off right."
The lead stretched to as many as 22 points and FSU led comfortably for almost the entire duration of the game. However, Chowan scored the game's final 14 points in the contest's final 4:55, mainly as a result of FSU reserves being matched with Hawks starters.
It's the fifth consecutive win for the Lady Broncos and the second straight win in the series. It's also the first of a three-game conference homestand over a span of five days. FSU takes on Virginia State at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
"It's very important," Patterson-Heath said. "We certainly want to get the rust from the Christmas holidays off of us. We're in CIAA time. Every game is important."