After defeating Tallahassee Community College 84-70 on Friday in the Georgia Highlands Classic in Rome, GA, the Shelton State Lady Buccaneers faced another Region 8 Panhandle Conference foe on Saturday: defending national champion and #1 ranked Chipola College.
Both teams came in to the game undefeated and played an action packed 40 minutes of basketball. Chipola jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead with their full court press, but Shelton State settled themselves and had the lead, 16-15, at the first period break. The second period saw much of the same as the game was up and down the floor, with both teams attacking the basket. The Lady Bucs led most of the period and went in at halftime up 36-30.
Shelton State started the third period with a three-pointer by Gabby Nicholson and a three-point play by Coco Knight to push the lead to 11, but as all great championship teams do, Chipola made a huge run. Shaliaya Fluker hit back to back three-pointers, and Rosemarie Julien had seven of the next nine points that helped Chipola carry a 54-48 lead into the fourth period. The lead stayed in the 6-7 point range until the final two minutes when Shelton State would make one final push. Down 74-68, Nicholson got a steal and a layup, and then on the next possession would get fouled and hit two free throws cutting the lead to 74-72. After a free throw by Julien, Tan Walker hit a shot in the paint to make it a one point game. Aisha Edwards hit one of two from the line, but Knight tied it on a drive to the baseline. Edwards again hit one of two free throws, but Keyuana Thompson answered with a coast to coast layup to give the Lady Bucs the lead 78-77 with .23 seconds left. Edwards quickly got the lead back for Chipola on her layup setting the stage for the final 15 seconds. With the ball under their basket with seven seconds to go, the Lady Bucs got the ball to Knight who made a nice move with a soft scoop shot in the paint to give Shelton State an 80-79 lead with four seconds on the clock. An inbounds violation gave the ball back to the Lady Bucs. Nicholson was fouled and hit one of two from the line with only two seconds left. Edwards's half court heave was unsuccessful, and the Shelton State Lady Buccaneers pulled out the 81-79 victory.
The Lady Buccaneers were led by Coco Knight's 26 points followed by Gabby Nicholson's 14. Kailey Echols led the team with nine rebounds, and Nadia Stewart had six assists. Chipola was led by Barbara Johnson and Cynthia Petke with 12 points each.
Shelton State returns home to play Itawamba Community College Monday night at 5:30 p.m.