Shaw is a game away from its fourth straight CIAA women’s championship.
The Bears, No. 2 in the South Division, turned back No. 1 North seed Virginia State 60-59 in the semifinals Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena in a finish that went down to the final second. Virginia State’s Cana Marriott hit a long jumper at the horn but was ruled on the arc, leaving the Trojans, No. 10 in Division II, a point shy. Shaw (20-8) advances to the final to face Fayetteville State, the South’s top seed and a 64-57 winner against Virginia Union.
Four Bears scored in double figures, led by Diamond Mitchell’s 12 points. Micah Brooks and Verdine Warner had 11 each and Ariel Hatcher 10. Virginia State’s Pryncess Tate-Dublin led all scorers with 21 points, including 17 in the second half. Alexandria Massado added 11 for the Trojans.
Shaw led by nine points in the first half, which ended with the Bears in front 28-23. Tate-Dublin sparked the Trojans (25-2), who led 53-50 on Jessica Lyons’ jumper with 5 minutes, 31 seconds left. A Hatcher free throw gave Shaw a 60-57 advantage with 17 seconds to go set up the final possession, which ended with Marriott taking a jumper with her foot on the line.
Fayetteville State (21-6) withstood a determined second-half rally by Virginia Union to advance to the final. The Panthers (11-16) pulled to within three on Melyse Brown’s 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining, but Fayetteville State connected on four consecutive free throws to clinch the victory.
Fayetteville State’s Amber Calvin topped all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, followed by Akysia Resper’s 14 and JeLena Robertson with 12. Brown paced Virginia Union with 16 points, backed by Ashle Freeman, Lady Walker and Jasmin Dancy with 11 each.
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