Virginia Union University's Shareka McNeill scored 22 points as the Lady Panthers downed Virginia State University 67-42 in the Battle of I-95 on Saturday, February 9, at Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond, Va.
The 25-point margin of victory was the largest for a VUU team over a VSU squad in the AnnMarie Gilbert era.
It also marked the eighth straight time Virginia Union has defeated Virginia State in women's basketball.
"This was a very emotional game," said Gilbert. "We started out a little flat and I think the emotions of the rivalry really got us early on, but as we settled down we really got back to playing Lady Panther basketball."
VUU's Bria McKinney added 13 points, including three 3-pointers in the game.
"I prayed to God, as I always do, before the game asking for a break-through," McKinney said. "When I saw someone I'm close to go down, it put more fire in me."
For McNeill, the super sophomore hit 8 of 22 shots from the field, including five three-pointers.
"This game was like the last one, full of high intensity," McNeill said. "We knew State was going to come in here and give us their best shot because that what every team in the CIAA does. But I think my team and I held them down."
Although VSU scored 23 points in the first quarter and led VUU 23-16, the Lady Panther defense held the Lady Trojans to just 19 points the rest of the game, including single-digit scoring in the second and fourth quarters.
"I'm really excited about our defense," Gilbert said. "(VSU) came out and hit some shots early, and we expected them to. They're a team that's made some changes and some adjustments in their lineup as of late. But I thought our team really did not allow themselves to get rattled. The more Virginia State hit shots, the more we seemed to settle down."
VUU's Nicole Floyd scored 10 points in the win while Jasmine Carter led the Lady Panthers with 10 rebounds.
The win was the 13th straight win for the Lady Panthers, and it raised their record to 21-1 overall and 12-1 in the CIAA.
Virginia State fell to 9-13 overall and 3-10 in the CIAA.
Virginia Union now faces Bowie State University at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, at Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond, Va.