February 28, 2015
CHARLOTTE, NC- The wait is over.
With a 73-49 victory over The Lincoln University, the Virginia State University Trojans clinched the 2015 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The title win was the first for Virginia State since 2002. The Trojans earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Atlantic Region Tournament with the victory and advance with a 20-9 overall record. The Lady Lions end their season with a 21-8 record.
Jessica Lyons led all players in the game with 16 points while DeAnna Waters chipped in 15 points. Cana Marriott totaled 14 points including four three-pointers while Dashae Jones added 11 points in the victory for the Trojans. The CIAA Tournament Most Valuable Player, Tiffanie Adair grabbed eight rebounds in the win while Lyons added seven rebounds. Virginia State shot 45.8% from the floor in the win.
Virginia State University head coach James Hill Jr. commented, “Our main focused was to continue to do what we do. If we could continue to play defense and box out, we knew we’d be successful…This year our team is more balanced, anyone can score on any night…as long as we get the win that’s what matters.”
Amani Clark paced the Lady Lions with 11 points in the setback. Lennee Kimbell and Teira Pendleton chipped in six points in the loss while Lisa Saunders, Courtney Smith and Dejah Taylor notched five points each. Courtney Lucas led all players in the game with 10 rebounds. Lincoln shot 27% from the floor over the course of the competition.
The Lincoln University head coach Jessica Kern stated, “…Well, honestly, whatever could have went wrong tonight did…I did enjoy seeing that the fight never stopped from these ladies. I’m proud of them and I know we wanted it to end differently but they never gave up.”
Adair opened the contest with a layup on the Trojans’ first possession of the contest. Taylor’s free throw put Lincoln on the board but jumpers by Waters and Adair gave Virginia State a 6-1 advantage two minutes into the game. Taylor’s jumper on the Lady Lions’ next possession put Lincoln back within striking distance.
Virginia State used a 9-2 run to pull away 13-5 by the 13:45 mark in the first half. The Lady Lions pulled within four points (15-11) with 10:29 on the clock after Courtney Lucas’ bucket. Marriott connected on back-to-back three pointers for Virginia State to give the Trojans a 21-11 lead with 9:29 remaining in the first half.
Wynterra Pittman’s tip-in with 8:10 on the clock handed the Trojans a 23-11 lead. Courtney Smith answered with a three-pointer for Lincoln on the Lady Lions’ next possession but Virginia State used an11-0 run highlighted by back-to-back three pointers by Jessica Lyons to leave the Lady Lions trailing 34-14.
Pittman’s layup for Virginia State gave the Trojans a 37-16 lead with 4:05 on the clock. The 21 point advantage was the largest of the half for the Trojans. The Lady Lions were unable to make a run in the remaining time in the first half and headed into the locker room trailing 39-21.
The Lady Lions shot 27.3% from the floor while the Trojans shot 54.2% in the first half.
Virginia State opened the second half with a jumper by Waters and three-pointer by Dashae Jones to take a commanding 44-21 lead. Two jumpers by Waters and a three-pointer by Jones left Lady Lions trailing 51-21 with 16:04 on the clock.
Back-to-back baskets by Kimbell for Lincoln made the score 51-25 and ended a six minute scoring drought for the Lions. Amani Clark’s three-pointer at the 10:53 mark brought Lincoln with 23 points but the Trojans were relentless in their attack.
Trailing 58-35 with 6:23 left in the game, two made free throws and a layup by Pendleton allowed the Lady Lions to pull within 19 points (58-39). Lincoln was unable to overcome the deficit as Virginia State continued to dominate the momentum and the scoreboard in the remainder of the contest to earn the 73-49 victory.
The members of the CIAA All-Tournament Team include:
|Elizabeth City State
2015 Women’s Most Valuable Player
2015 CIAA Women’s Team Sportsmanship Award
Bowie State University