Livingstone is advancing to the CIAA women’s semifinals for the first time in 15 years.
The Blue Bears, the No. 3 seed in the South Division, knocked off rival Johnson C. Smith 50-43 Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena to advance to Friday’s semifinal against Lincoln (Pa.), which beat Virginia Union 59-51. The last time Livingstone (8-19) got this far, the Blue Bears won the championship in 2000.
“I’ve never said I thought Livingstone was a sixth-seeded team,” first-year Livingstone coach Anita Howard said. “We just brought some key pieces to go along with what they already had.”
“It got a little ugly at times tonight but they fought through. They just stepped up. This is a special group.”
Neither team was crisp on offense, with Livingstone hitting 24.1 percent (14-of-58) of its shots compared to J.C. Smith’s 22.8 percent (13-of-57). The Blue Bears, however, manufactured a difference from the free-throw line, connecting on 20-of-31 against the Golden Bulls’ 14-of-22. J.C. Smith ends its season at 20-8.
“Regardless of how an official calls the game, you have to adjust to the official and I don’t think we did that,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner Jr. said. “We came out in the second half and were the aggressor, we got to the one-and-one first – that’s where we wanted to be but …they just made more free throws.”
Only one Livingstone player broke double figures, with guard Cierra York going scoring 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting. J.C. Smith center Ashley Porter led all scorers with 12 points and grabbed10 rebounds.
Lincoln (Pa.) 59, Virginia Union 51: Zephrah Pam paced all scorers with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Amani Clark chipped in 12 points to power the Lions (20-7) to the semifinals. Tryland Jennings and Lady Walker each scored 12 points for the Panthers (9-18), with Ashle Freeman adding 10.
Shaw 88, Winston-Salem State 59: Five Bears scored double-figures as Shaw (19-10) easily dispatched the Rams. Michah Brooks led the way with 16 points, on 3-of-5 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. Verdine Warner, the CIAA’s player of the year, added 14 points.
Jasmine Carter led Winston-Salem State (11-17) with 10 points.
Virginia State 58, Elizabeth City State 53: Virginia State (18-9) led by as many as 18 points in the second half but had to withstand a Vikings rally to advance. Tiffanie Adair scored a game-best 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting to lead Virginia State while Dashae Jones tossed in 13.
Jadda Jefferies scored 15 points for Elizabeth City State (13-14), backed by Breona Jones’ 13.