CBC: Bahamas tops USVI 67-63 for victory


Sports Reporter


WHAT a difference a year has made for our senior women’s national basketball team as they started the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships with a win over the same team that sent them to an opening-round loss in 2014.

High scoring wing Shanea Armbrister led the Bahamas with a game high 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the team to a 67-63 win over the US Virgin Islands yesterday on the opening day of competition at the Multi Sports Complex in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. They are slated to face St Vincent and the Grenadines in game two at 4:15pm today.

Shalonda Neely finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, Phylicia Kelly scored 10 points, Valerie Nesbitt came off the bench to finish with 10 points and three assists while Ashley Moss finished with four points and a team high 12 rebounds.

Brittney Matthew led the USVI with 19 points while Natalie Day finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Trailing 37-33 early in the third quarter, the Bahamas eventually outscored the USVI 20-14 in the quarter to regain control of the game. It was a 10-0 run for the Bahamas, capped by a layup from Kelly to take a 43-37 lead at the 7:11 mark in the quarter. They took a 53-48 lead into the fourth quarter.

In a thrilling finish, it was a single possession game for approximately the final five minutes of regulation with neither team gaining more than a four-point edge.

Matthew made a three-pointer with 1:13 left in regulation to bring the USVI within one (64-63).

After the Bahamas failed to score, the USVI had an opportunity to take a late lead, but Neely came up with a timely steal on the defensive end, and on the other side of the floor, her rebound and putback gave the Bahamas a three-point lead with under a minute left to play.

Armbrister split a pair at the line to bring about the game’s final margin.

The Bahamas shot 42 per cent from the field, 40 per cent from three-point range and 69 per cent from the free throw line. They limited the USVI to 35 per cent from the field, 30 per cent from three-point range and 50 per cent from the line. They outrebounded the USVI by 10 boards and forced 20 turnovers.

The first quarter produced five ties and six lead changes early on. The Bahamas got on the scoreboard first when Neely’s layup got the scoring, starting from the opening tip.

An always offensive minded Armbrister scored the first three -pointer of the game to give the Bahamas a 7-4 lead. She scored seven in the quarter. Tied at 11, the Bahamas went on a 10-2 run to close the period and take a commanding 21-13 lead.

In the second,  the lead grew to as much as 12 early in the quarter when Kelly’s jumper gave the Bahamas a 25-13 lead at the 9:09 mark.

Clinging to a 27-17 lead, the Bahamas allowed the USVI to get back into contention with an 8-2 run.

Yanique Javois trimmed the deficit to just four (29-25) with just over five minutes left to play in the half.

The Bahamas briefly regained an eight-point lead, only to have the USVI storm back late in the quarter to take the lead.

Trailing 33-27, Day sparked the run with a floater, and she capped the 7-0 run with a layup which just beat the buzzer. She gave her team a 34-33 lead headed into the half.

Last year, it was a hard fought 56-51 loss to USVI that ultimately left the Bahamas out of medal contention. USVI had a differential of +19 compared to the Bahamas’ +21. However they held the edge in head-to-head matchup and thus advanced to the semi-final while the Bahamas was placed in the reclassification bracket.

With the win the Bahamas will have a head-to-head edge.

• Today, the Bahamas is scheduled to face a St Vincent team that lost their opening game 72-64 to Antigua and Barbuda in the tournament opener.


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