College Basketball

J.C. Smith women race past Elizabeth City State in first round of CIAA tournament

J.C. Smith’s Amena Brent, center, is surrounded by Elizabeth City State defenders during Tuesday’s first round of the CIAA women’s tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. J.C. Smith won 70-50, advancing to Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
J.C. Smith’s Amena Brent, center, is surrounded by Elizabeth City State defenders during Tuesday’s first round of the CIAA women’s tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. J.C. Smith won 70-50, advancing to Wednesday’s quarterfinals. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

J.C. Smith has nothing to lose at the CIAA women’s basketball tournament.

After an erratic regular season, the Golden Bulls got off to a good postseason start with a 70-50 win against Elizabeth City State Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.

J.C. Smith (17-11), the fourth seed in the South Division, never trailed the North’s fifth-seeded Vikings in advancing to the quarterfinals against North top-seed Virginia Union.

“I’ve just been telling them to go for it,” said J.C. Smith coach Stephen Joyner Jr. said. “I think that’s been kind of what has held them back sometimes, whether it’s a personal thing or a teammate said something or I said something the student-athlete didn’t want to hear at the time. Regardless of what the situation is, go for it.”

Sophomore guard Asha Jordan did her part with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to lead all scorers. The Monroe High graduate scored 12 points in the first half as J.C. Smith built a 41-27 lead at halftime.

“I can’t say enough about Asha,” Joyner said. “She’s been begging me for the keys to the bus for a long time and we battled. I must say at this time it’s time for me to hand them over to her. She’s deserving.”

Said Jordan: “I haven’t been this player that I am right now all year, which is why we sometimes go at it. Now that I’m playing to where I’m supposed to be playing and my teammates are pushing me, I feel I’m getting back.”

Crest High graduate A’Diyah Ussery scored 11 points for J.C. Smith, which connected on 45.3 percent (24-of-53) percent of its shots while limiting Elizabeth City State (8-18) to 27.3 percent. The Vikings were paced by Breona Jones’ 15 points on 4-of-19 shooting, while Imani Heggins added 14 points on 6-of-11 accuracy.

J.C. Smith’s balance and aggression were more than Elizabeth City State could handle. The Golden Bulls made more free throws (18-of-26) than the Vikings attempted (9-of-11).

Bowie State 60, Fayetteville State 45: The Bulldogs opened the tournament with an upset of the South’s No. 3 seed. Kyah Proctor scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting for North sixth-seed Bowie State (11-16) and Kiara Colston added 14.

Doreen Richardson led Fayetteville State (15-13) with 14 points. Vernessa Hinnant added 13.

Lincoln (Pa.) 61, St. Augustine’s 49: The North No. 3 Lions never trailed in cruising past the Falcons, the South’s sixth seed. Amani Clark scored 17 points to lead Lincoln (14-11) and Mieana Gaines scored 14 off the bench. St. Augustine’s Shankka Harris led all scorers with 20 points. Sycoya Dorsey added 12.

Winston-Salem State 50, Virginia State 44: The Rams (12-15) outlasted the Trojans in a game that included 12 lead changes and six ties. Briana Arnold scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting for Winston-Salem State. Wynterra Pittman led Virginia State (12-15) with 13 points.

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