The Shaw Bears (N.C.) caught fire at the right time of the season and concluded a 15-game winning streak with a 88-82 thriller victory Friday night in overtime over Ashland (Ohio) in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Game at Bill Freehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s University.

The Shaw Bears (N.C.) caught fire at the right time of the season and concluded a 15-game winning streak with a 88-82 thriller victory Friday night in overtime over Ashland (Ohio) in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Game at Bill Freehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s University.

It was a clash of substition patterns between a Shaw team which runs 10 players deep and an Ashland team which relies heavily on the contributions of starters Kari Daugherty, Ashley Dorner, Alyssa Miller, Jena Stutzman and Lindsay Tenyak. In fact, Ashland bench players Kaci Finfrock, Chelsea Laporte and Beth Mantkowski combined for 10 minutes played and four starters played at least 43 minutes - Dorner 43, Stutzman 44, Daugherty 44 and Miller all 45 minutes.

Shaw found an offensive balance with production from five players in double figures: Sequoyah Griffin 24 points, Brittney Spencer 16, Aslea Williams 14, Brittany Ransom 14 and Kyria Buford 10. Williams added 11 rebounds and five steals.

The Bears overcame a 43-32 halftime deficit by outscoring Ashland 40-29 in the second half and then 16-10 in overtime.

Shaw (29-6) led 72-69 late in regulation but Stutzman hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining to force extra sessions.

Stutzman led all scorers with 32 points and Daugherty added 24. Ashland committed 21 turnovers against the swarming attack defense of the Bears, negating positive statistics like shooting 24-26 on free throws, an impressive 92.3 percent.

Both teams were making their first appearance in the National Championship Game.