ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Ashley Fields scored five points down the stretch and Deja Dickens fired in a career-high 24 points as the Claflin University Lady Panthers knocked off nationally ranked Virginia Union, 62-59, Thursday (Dec. 6) at Tullis Arena.
With the win, Claflin improved to 4-1 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and 6-4 overall.
Fields, who scored the Lady Panthers last five points, finished the game with a double-double of 15 points, 12 in the second half, and 10 rebounds.
Also scoring in double-figures for Claflin was Dashia Jackson with 14 points.
For the game, the Lady Panthers knocked down 10 three-pointers with Dickens contributing leading six to tie a career best. She previously had six in a 21-point performance against Shaw University (Nov. 24).
Virginia Union, which entered the contest ranked 5th in the D2SIDA Women's Basketball National Poll and unbeaten, dropped to 8-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Shareka McNeill led Virginia Union with 19 points.
In the fourth quarter, the lead changed hand several times until Shakarri Mack put Claflin up for good at 57-56 with 1:41 left. The Lady Panthers held off Virginia Union down the stretch by scoring five of the last eight points.
Claflin outscored Virginia Union 19-17 in the quarter.
The game was tied twice in the early goings of the third quarter, before Rejoice Spivey hit a three-pointer at the 5:02 mark to put Virginia Union ahead at 34-31.
Virginia Union increased its lead to 42-33 at the 2:33 mark, only to see the Lady Panthers pull to within 42-41 by the end the end of the quarter.
"It was a great win for our program," head coach Revonda Whitely said. "Our ladies played tough and willed the win. Virginia Union is a great program and I am a big fan of Coach Gilbert." Whitley continued, "What she does with her team and program is exceptional, so to win against that caliber of a team is definitely a huge win for the Claflin Women's Basketball Program."
In the opening quarter, Fields tip-in tied the contest at 7-7 with 4:53 showing on the clock. That would be the only points scored by the Lady Panthers until Dickens hit a three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
Between the Claflin scoring drought, Virginia Union reeled off nine unanswered points to lead 16-7 at the 1:50 mark.
Dickens basket ended the Virginia Union run as the Lady Panthers trailed 16-10 heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Virginia Union increased its lead to 26-13 with 6:43 left in the quarter on a layup from McNeill. Virginia Union would see its 13-point lead reduced to a tie at intermission off a 15-2 run by the Lady Panthers over the last six minutes of the quarter, pulling even at 28-28.
Claflin hit four three-pointers in the quarter and outscored Virginia Union 18-12.
The Lady Panthers will travel to Saint Augustine's University on Saturday (Dec. 9) for a CIAA rematch in Raleigh, N.C.https://athletics.claflin.edu/news/2018/12/6/womens-basketball-claflin-lady-panthers-upset-nationally-ranked-virginia-union.aspx