The following comes directly from Virginia Union University:
Virginia Union University’s Brittany Jackson poured in 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Lady Walker scored 15 points and had 14 rebounds for her fourth double-double, and the Panthers rolled in the third quarter for a 90-68 win over Shepherd on Monday in Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond, Va.
The Panthers, ranked No. 9 in the WBCA poll, are 4-0 at home and have scored 90 or more points in all but one game this season.
“We don’t have Kiana Johnson, but as a team, I think we’re a better team this year,” said Union coach AnnMarie Gilbert. “A lot more scoring pieces, a lot more people to rebound and slash, and on any given night, it could be a different kid (to lead in scoring).”
The Rams (2-4) shot 52.9 percent from the field and led Virginia Union 19-18 after the first quarter. Union held Shepherd to 4-of-15 shooting and scored 20 themselves in the second quarter for a 38-35 lead at halftime.
The Panthers (5-0) pulled away in the third quarter. They outscored Shepherd 27-10, holding the Rams to 4-of-17 shooting, as they made 11 of their 17 field goal attempts. They took a 20-point lead into the fourth.
“The kids really have pride,” Gilbert said. “They were like, ‘Coach, we’re going to get this thing turned around. It’s a little too close,’ at halftime.”
Gilbert said the team still is trying to find an identity defensively. She would be happy if they can put together four quarters like Monday’s third.
“Offensively, 80 to 100 points, that’s always within reach, but really getting stops, consecutive stops, we haven’t been able to do that, and that was really our focus,” Gilbert said.
“Pound the glass, every rebound, get it, outlet it quickly, and let’s go the other way. Lady Panther basketball, and I saw it in that third quarter.”
Virginia Union outrebounded Shepherd 58-35 in the game. They scored 54 points in the paint and 24 second-chance points.
Their defense and ability to control the boards led to 37 fast-break points, many coming from Jackson.
The 5-9 junior guard plays on the block in Union’s 2-3 zone, but is explosive running the floor and can finish through contact. She also knocked down midrange jump shots and hit three 3-pointers.
She was 3 for 3 from the free throw line and grabbed eight rebounds and recorded three assists.
It’s her first year at Virginia Union after having played previously for Georgia Tech and ASA College.
“She’s been finding her way, but I think this kid is, if not the best guard in the CIAA, she’s one of the best,” Gilbert said.
Union had the best guard in the CIAA last year in Johnson, who wore No. 3.
This year, if only by coincidence, Jackson is No. 3.
“Three was the only small number available,” Gilbert said, “but I think she’s going to represent it very well.”