VUU, VSU revving up for Freedom Classic matchup Saturday

Fred Jeter | 1/18/2019, 6 a.m.
Virginia Union University’s basketball season has been given a jumpstart. When the Panthers trek to Ettrick on Saturday to play ...

Both Howze and Melvin would be candidates for CIAA Player of the Year if VSU repeats as CIAA Northern Division champion.

Brandon Holley, a VSU senior out of Richmond’s George Wythe High School, averages 9.4 points and ranks with the CIAA’s most dangerous 3-point shooters at 42 percent.

Senior Walter Williams from Henrico High School will sit out the remainder of this season as a medical redshirt. He suffered a foot injury in November and is expected to be granted another full season of eligibility.

Defensive-minded Coach Blow continues to shine on the Trojans’ sidelines. The Tidewater native is 116-41 in his sixth season, including 38-8 the past two years. 

 For first time, the Freedom Classic will include the women’s teams as part of a doubleheader format. It was an all-men’s event during the tournament’s previous 23 years at the Richmond Coliseum.

Ifunanya Okoye is VUU’s “local girl from far away.” The 5-foot-10 freshman is a native of Lagos, Nigeria, but went to high school at Banner Christian School in Chesterfield County.

Okoye averages 10 points and six rebounds while hitting 57 percent from floor.

Rejoice Spivey has become VUU’s all-time assists leader. The senior from Alexandria had 10 assists in a Jan. 10 victory at Shaw to raise her career total to 438.

The previous mark of 435 assists was set by Pria Stellmacher from 2001 to 2005.

VSU boasts one of the CIAA’s top low-post operators in 5-foot-11 Chrissana Green from Jamestown, N.Y. Green averages 17 points and 12 rebounds with 13 blocked shots. Frequently fouled on the inside, she is 63 for 108 at the line for 58 percent.

Another inside force is 6-foot Shalyn Washington, averaging seven points and five rebounds. Washington starred at Highland Springs High School and transferred to VSU from Frederick Community College in Maryland.