Virginia Union’s Panthers couldn’t wait for a rematch with J.C. Smith.
After taking a 77-75 loss at Brayboy Gym in December, Virginia Union gained a measure of satisfaction at the CIAA women’s tournament with an 84-68 win in the quarterfinals. The Panthers (23-2) play Livingstone in the semifinals Friday at 3 p.m.
“This game has been circled for quite some time,” Panthers coach AnnMarie Gilbert said. “We just thought we may draw them again and they were so confident, it makes your job so much easier as a coach when your kids aren’t rattled.”
Virginia Union, No. 1 in this week’s Division II Atlantic Region poll, overcame a slow start to pull away from J.C. Smith, the South Division’s fourth seed. The Panthers reeled off an 18-8 second quarter to grab a 33-30 halftime advantage and led by as many as 19 points in the second half.
“We just kind of started hanging our heads instead of pushing through,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “It was evident they wanted it more tonight. They’re a very talented ball club.
Panthers point guard Kiana Johnson, the nation’s leading scorer at 28 points per game, hit her average in addition to dishing out 10 assists. Center Lady Johnson added 25 points and 13 assists while forward Rahni Bell tossed in 20 points.
“(Joyner) had their power forward come and double me, so I knew that I would have to get my teammates open,” said Johnson, a Michigan State transfer who connected on 19-of-20 free throws. “I just focused on passing and the points game.”
Ashley Porter paced J.C. Smith (17-12) with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting while Asha Jordan added 14 points. Both teams struggled with accuracy, with the Golden Bulls hitting 26-of-78 shots (33.3 percent) compared to Virginia Union’s 25-of-71 (35.2 percent).
Shaw 61, Winston-Salem State 43: The Lady Bears used a stifling defensive effort in the second half to earn a victory over Winston-Salem State and advance to the semifinal round of the tournament for the sixth consecutive time.
Senior guard Tabatha Anderson led all players in the contest with 16 points. Junior Michelle Wright added 13 points, while senior Eboni Ross notched nine points and a game, including 7-of-9 shooting from the charity stripe and game-high 15 rebounds in the win.
Brionna Pate led Winston-Salem State in scoring with 12 points and four rebounds, while Jasmine Carter contributed 10 points and five rebounds in the loss.
The Lady Bears will meet Chowan in the semifinal round on Friday at 1 p.m.
Chowan 59, Bowie State 57, OT: The Hawks outscored Bowie State 8-6 in the extra period to earn their 20th win of the season. Jordan Payne led Chowan (20-7) with 16 points while Alisha Mobley and Dhyamond Crenshaw added 13 each.
Bowie State’s Kiara Colston paced all scorers with 28 points while Kyah Proctor tossed in 14.
Livingstone 50, Lincoln (Pa.) 45: The Blue Bears rallied behind a 13-5 fourth quarter to advance to the semifinals. Amber Curtis scored 16 points for Livingstone (15-11) while Taylor Daniels hauled down 13 rebounds. Amani Clark scored 11 points for Lincoln (14-12).