Charlotte, N.C. – Elizabeth City State jumped out to a 8-2 lead and never trailed, en route to a 61-52 win over Fayetteville State in the opening game of the CIAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Elizabeth City State started the game on a tear, sparked by a pair of Lady Viking three pointers, both from sophomore Chalise Greenwood (Oxon Hill, Md.) Arielle Harris also paced the way with a jumper of her own to provide the early 8-2 lead.
Fayetteville State got a basket from Bria Robinson (Belmont, N.C.) to cut the Viking lead to 8-4, but the Vikings went on a 7-2 run to extend the lead to 17-6 with 12:22 remaining after a pair of Jadda Jefferies (Burlongton, N.C.) free throws. Robinson would cut the lead to 17-8 after a jumper from the right side.
ECSU would then go ahead on a Breona Jones (Henderson, N.C.) basket. Jones was fouled on the play but could not get the free throw to go. Following another FSU miss, Alliyah Floyd drained a three pointer from the corner to extend the ECSU lead to 22-8 with 10:06 remaining, forcing an FSU timeout.
Following a Deja Middleton (Richmond, Va.) layup for FSU, ECSU responded immediately pushing the lead to 24-10 after a shot from Jones.
With ECSU up 26-15, both teams traded turnovers with Fayetteville State drawing a foul. Middleton was able to drain both ends of a one-and-one opportunity to close within 26-17 with 5:21 remaining in the first half.
FSU continued to chip away at the lead, this time bringing it to 26-19 following another basketball from Richardson with 4:28 remaining. After an ECSU miss, FSU had another opportunity to get closer, but the entry pass was too high, resulting in the turnover.
After trading baskets, FSU forced a turnover and Shamaiya Battle (Fayetteville, N.C.) got to the free throw line, cutting the lead to 30-22 with 2:06 before the half. The Broncos trimmed the lead to 30-24 after another Middleton basket and forced an ECSU turnover with 1:06 left.
On the ensuing possession, the ECSU defense forced a miss and gained the defensive rebound at the 42.7 mark. After an ECSU timeout, the Vikings missed a short jumper, but FSU turned it over on a long pass. That proved costly, as ECSU got a basket from Battle with 11 seconds left to take the 32-24 lead into halftime.
The Lady Vikings would start the second half with a three pointer from Jeffries that made it 35-24. Following an FSU layup from Middleton, ECSU jumped ahead 38-26 on layup from Jeffries. On her drive she was fouled and she knocked down the free throw attempt for the three point play.
FSU would close the gap to eight points at 40-32 after a shot from Powell at the 15:19 mark and again with 13:25 to play after she hit two free throws to make it 42-34.
Neither team could score over the next three minutes, but ECSU’s Jones broke the scoreless drought with a free throw to make it 44-34 with 9:48 remaining. FSU’s Robinson drew the Lady Broncos to within 44-36 with a layup, and following an ECSU miss, Shamaiya Battle was able to get to the line. After missing the first free throw, the Lady Broncos were whistled with a lane violation, turning the ball back over to the Lady Vikings.
Each team then traded misses on each of their next two possessions, but FSU’s Middleton found her way to the line, hitting both shots to close the game to 44-38 with 7:19 to play.
After and ECSU turnover, Fayetteville State missed an opportunity to close to within four, but Middleton’s shot rimmed out, and the Vikings scored after securing the rebound, this time on a basket from Greenwood, extending the lead to 46-38.
Fayetteville State’s Middleton again found herself on the line, hitting both two shots to close to 46-40 at the 5:35 mark. After two free throws from Jeffries, ECSU regained the eight point advantage at 48-40 with 5:21 remaining. After missing two layups, ECSU gained possession and Jasmine Boyd (Flint, Mich.) hit a pair of free throws to make it 50-40.
FSU’s Makayla Williams (Raleigh, N.C.) would hit her lone three pointer of the game, making it 50-43 at the 4:50 mark.
ECSU would extend the lead to 54-43, but FSU’s Powell would keep the Bronco hopes alive by banking in a three pointer with 2:39 left trim the ECSU lead to 54-46. Following two missed ECSU free throws, the Lady Broncos drew closer after Powell hit a free throw with 2:02 remaining to make it 54-47.
The FSU pressure force d ECSU to scramble and eventually caused a turnover late in the possession. The Lady Broncos would return the favor, turning it over on the entry pass with 1:24 remaining.
On the following FSU possession, Middleton boarded a miss and scored on a put back, making it 56-52. Again forced to foul, FSU sent Jefferies to the line. Jefferies hit two more, extended the lead to 58-52 with 26 seconds left.
FSU would miss a three pointer from the corner, and the ensuing foul sent ECSU’s Chalise Greenwood (Oxon Hill, Md.) to the line. Greenwood would miss both shots, giving FSU another chance to cut into the lead, but the Broncos were unable to do so. ECSU hit one free throw and FSU was unable to get off another shot, turning the ball over with four seconds remaining. ECSU got a layup at the buzzer from Jasmine Boyd to provide the 61-52 final.
The Lady Broncos were led by Deja Robinson, as she had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Teammate Bria Robinson also secured a double-double, pouring in 10 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Bri’neshia Powell also scored in double figures with 10 points.
With the loss, Fayetteville State concludes their season at 8-18.
The Lady Vikings were led by Jadda Jefferies’ 20 points and seven rebounds. Jefferies went 13-14 from the free throw line in the win. Freshman Breona Jones scored 14 points for the Lady Vikings.