CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Virginia Union Lady Panthers will see another day at the CIAA Tournament after earning a decisive 73-50 victory over Livingstone College on Tuesday morning in Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Lady Panthers entered the contest as the third seed out of the Northern Division and will take on Bowie State on Wednesday at 10 a.m. They advance to the second round with a 10-15 overall record. Livingstone, the sixth seed out of the Southern Division, ends their season with a 12-15 mark on the year.
Virginia Union head coach, Barvenia Wooten-Cherry stated, “We’re excited. Today our main focus was defense. Defense wins championships. We got a lot of transition points, got into the lane and finished our shots. Before the game we talked about shot selection and the team answered the call.”
Ashle Freeman led all players in the contest with 22 points in the win. Melyse Brown and Jasmin Dancy added 19 and 15 points respectively. For Livingstone, Tiffany Evans notched a team-high 14 points while Ashley Walker added 12 to help the cause. Alexis Hicks added 10 points for the Lady Blue Bears. The Lady Panthers converted 21 Livingstone turnovers into 20 points and outscored the Lady Blue Bears 44-22 in the paint.
Angelyne Brown, head coach of Livingstone, noted, “Obviously we are disappointed with the outcome but we would like to give credit to Virginia Union in their victory. They executed their plan and did exactly what we expected them to do. We didn’t respond well.”
Freeman opened up the contest with a jumper for the Lady Panthers. Three-pointers by Barret and Brown extended Virginia Union’s lead to 8-0. Wende Foster put the Lady Blue Bears on the board with a jumper with 16:42 left in the half.
From there, it was all about the Lady Panthers as Brown’s jumper sparked a 9-0 run, handing Virginia Union a 19-2 advantage with 13:16 on the clock. Walker’s jumper for Livingstone broke a five minute scoring drought and put the Lady Blue Bears back in the game, but Freeman’s bucket for the Lady Panthers gave Virginia Union a 21-4 lead heading into the second media timeout of the contest.
Virginia Union built their lead to 25-4 before the Lady Blue Bears scored six unanswered points to make the score 25-10 with 6:11 left before halftime. The teams exchanged baskets with the Lady Panthers enjoying a 32-16 advantage at the end of the first half.
Walker tacked on a bucket to start out the second half. Hicks completed the three-point play for the Lady Blue Bears to make the score 34-19. Cierra York’s three-pointer for Livingstone made it a 12-point game with 17:56 on the clock. Baskets by Freeman, Denesha Tatum and Dancy for Virginia Union were matched by jumpers from Livingstone’s Evans and Hicks resulting in a 40-26 score with 15:44 left in the contest.
After the first media time out of the second half, Dancy hit a jumper for the Lady Panthers. Evans responded for the Lady Blue Bears with a three-pointer to make the score 42-29. The teams exchanged baskets as time on the clock ticked away but Livingstone was unable to overcome the deficit. Though the Lady Blue Bears battled, they trailed by as many as 17 points (50-33) with 11:35 left in the game.
Enjoying a 52-36, advantage with 10:48 on the clock, Virginia Union orchestrated an 11-3 run to pull away 63-39 with just under five minutes left in the contest. The Lady Panthers maintained a lead of 20 points or more for the remainder of the game en-route to the 73-50 win.
For the complete Box Score click here.