Charlotte, NC -- In the final women's game of the JWU Tip-Off Classic, the Johnson & Wales Lady Wildcats matched up with the Roaring Lions of Penn State -- Fayette. With only 7 players in the rotation, the speed of the game and the Wildcat pressure finally caught up with the Roaring Lions as the Wildcats scored 7 straight points to open the overtime period and pull away from Penn State -- Fayette. Although the Roaring Lions had an opportunity to tie the game with a three-point basket at the buzzer, it did not fall and the Wildcats escaped with the 86-83 win.
Throughout the game, neither team lead by more than 9 points. With 14:43 in the second half, JWU took the lead for good on a drive by Vanderia Shackleford. The Wildcats pushed the lead to 6 points thereafter 8 different times, and Penn State -- Fayette closed the gap each time. The Wildcats finally pushed the lead to 8 points at the 7-minute mark and forced a Penn State -- Fayette timeout. A steal and assist from Courtney Pate put the Wildcats up 62-56 with 4:30 to play, but the Roaring Lions fought back to shorten the lead to 64-61 with just over 3 minutes to play. Donyelle Stuetley and Courtney Pate scored back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 7 at 68-61 with 2:18 left, but the Wildcats gave up a three-point shot on the ensuing possession. Stuetley put another basket in with 1:27 to play, but then she fouled out on a foul that led to two made Fayette free throws. After a free throw from Vanderia Shackleford, Fayette hit another three to close the margin to 3 points at the 40.6 second mark. A Fayette steal led to 2 more free throws, and the Wildcats led by only 1 point at 72-71. JWU missed 3 out of 4 free throws down the stretch, but Vanderia Shackleford hit one free throw to push the lead to 73-71 after Penn State -- Fayette had multiple chances to take the lead before losing the ball out of bounds. With 5 seconds to go, Fayette pushed the ball down the court and hit a game-tying shot at the buzzer to force overtime.
The Wildcats entered the overtime period without Courtney Pate (fouls), Donyelle Stuetley (fouls), or Audresha Merritt (injury), but the Wildcats came out strong and pushed the tempo against the shallow roster of the Roaring Lions. Jaquana Pauling hit a three-point shot to start the scoring in the overtime period, and Marketa Smalls and Justina Tyler added baskets to push the JWU lead to 7 points at 80-73. The Roaring Lions were able to close the lead to 82-80 before forcing a JWU turnover and tying the game at 82 with just over a minute to play. The Wildcats ran their offense and drew a foul that led to a Vanderia Shackleford free throw to make it 83-82. Fayette matched that free throw to tie the game again with 34.5 seconds to go. Vanderia Shackleford scored a layup on the next possession to make the score 85-83 and hit one free throw after Fayette fouled her intentionally on a defensive rebound to get the ball back. Down 86-83, Fayette did get off a shot in their last possession, but it bounced of the rim, and JWU secured the rebound as time expired.
JWU (2-1) was led by Vanderia Shackleford with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Jaquana Pauling also had a double-double with 11 points and 17 rebounds. Donyelle Stuetley (14) and Courtney Pate (12) were the other Wildcat players in double figures. The Wildcats had a very successsful tournament this weekend and now will have a full week's rest before hosting a Double Header against Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Saturday, November 15. Wear your bowtie or get one at the game to show your appreciation for President Gallagher. Women's game time is 4:00 PM, and President Gallagher will speak before the 4:00 game.