College Basketball

CIAA Women: Livingstone eliminates Johnson C. Smith

Livingstone College's Carrie Blunt (30),left, shoots the ball against Johnson C. Smith University's Amena Brent (34)(right), to the basket during the second round of the CIAA women's tournament, Feb 25,2015, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Livingstone College defeated Johnson C. Smith University 50-43.
Livingstone College's Carrie Blunt (30),left, shoots the ball against Johnson C. Smith University's Amena Brent (34)(right), to the basket during the second round of the CIAA women's tournament, Feb 25,2015, at Time Warner Cable Arena. Livingstone College defeated Johnson C. Smith University 50-43. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

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.

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