Dang, this is a women’s semifinal. Where is everybody? The CIAA Hall of Fame started at 9 a.m. this year instead of 11 a.m., so folks should be back. Virginia Union is in its first semifinal under coach Barvenia Wooten-Cherry, while Fayetteville State is looking for a second straight title appearance. The Broncos lost to Shaw last year.
I tell you CIAA women’s basketball just gets the shaft. First, the games on NOT on TV, then the big Jumbotron won’t even show the score and individual players statistics. You have to look all the way to the upper rafters to see the scoreboard and stats. Why can’t they show them on the Jumbotron?
Just overheard a conversation that Commissioner Carpenter is checking on the Jumbotron. Folks are upset.
While the Broncos are the favorite as the No. 2 seed, the Panthers lead 17-15. OK, the tron is up and running. Still, wouldn't have happened with the men's games.
One of the VUU band members is holding up a life-sized head of broadcaster Stan Lewter. We've had some fun with that. Like, that's the real size of Stan's head, or he's paying them to do it. We love you Stan!
Game has slowed down. Tied at 17 with 4 minutes left in 1st half. Eeeks! Jasmin Dancy gives Panthers a2-pt lead, but Shaquanza Manning's 3-ptr puts Broncos on top 20-19. Still, you'd think neither team has played a game. This tempo is benefiting the Panthers for sure.
Now, we're picking up. Games has been tied 5 times in the past 2 minutes. Akysia Resper nails a 3 to give FSU 3-pt lead. with 58 seconds left.
Halftime: FSU 25, VUU 23.
More good games are on the horizon. Great day of basketball on tap.
Panthers score first 4 pts to take 27-25 lead. Panthers make it 29-25 with 6 straight points. Crowd starting to flow in. Lady Walker hits layupt to give Panthers 4 pts lead. Love her name, Lady Walker. Makes you think of Lady Day.
Broncos are cold from the field. Shot 32.1% in the first half, No doing much better. Meylse Brown gives VUU a 6-pt lead. Timeout Broncos.
Amber Calvin breaks the drought, but Broncos defense can't stop Panthers. Denesha Tatum gets a putback. Uh oh, Calvin about to go off. Hits her second straight basketba. Has 11 pts. 13:21 left in game.
Walker gets her 3 pesonal foul wth 12:52 left. Bria Robinson hits 2 FTs to pull FSU to 2. Akysia Resper gives Broncos the lead with a 3. Think FSU was looking past VUU to the championship game? Resper makes it 2 in a row. FSU leads 42-39 with 11:29 left. TO Union.
Broncos may have awaken. De'Aira Smith makes it 44-39. Calvin gives FSU a 10-0 run.
Calvin is on fire. Hits again for her 15th point. It's the Calvin & Resper Show. Respter has 12. It's a 14-0 run now. Oh no, Calvin is down. In case you din't know, she's had 3 ACL injuries in her career. She's walking off on her own accord so that's good. Don't want to see any player get hurt.
Ashe Freeman breaks VUU drought with a FT but misses second. FSU leads 50-41 with 8:36 left.
Now it's Union's turn to make a run. Cuts the lead to 6, but Deja Middleton puts FSU up 8. Calvin is back in the game. JeLena Robertson gives FSU its biggest lead of 9 with 4:50 left, but Panthers cut it down to 7.
Union just missed 2 FTs that would have trimmed lead to 6 with 2:12 left. What is it with bad free throw shooting? But Dancy comes right back and makes a layup and a FT to make it 58-53 FSU with 1:40 left.
Panthers would actually lead in this game if not for missed FTs. Down by 4 with Calvin at the line. She makes 1, 2. Back to 6. See the difference.
Melyse Brown nails a 3 with 35.4 seconds left. FSU up 60-57. TO.
Middleton is fouled. VUU's Freeman commits the foul and fouls out of the game. Middleton makes one that rolls around the ri 3 times before falling in. Makes second. 62-57. Panthers shoot airball. Game over. FSU wins 64-57. But coach Wooten-Cherry has the Panthers headed in the right direction. They have nothing to be ashamed up. Missed free throws. Calvin is the MVP.
GAME TWO: SHAW VS. VIRGINIA STATE
What more needs to be said about this one. It's mentee vs. mentor or coach vs. assistant coach. The Trojans only blemish this year is to Shaw. And coach Jacques Curtis has never lost in the championship game, so if Shaw advances, it's over tomorrow.
Neither can VSU afford to get behind early. Shaw already leads 6-2. The Bears are a second-half team but Curtis has no intention of losing to his former employee. Diamond Mitchell gives Bears 8-2 lead.
Here talking with one of the arena managers. She has a young daughter who players basketball. Her job relocated her here from Florida. When she said "FSU" initials, she thought "Florida State" was playing. Didn't realize it was Fayetteville State.
So far, Trojans playing nothing like the team that annihilated St. Aug's Wed. Already it's 12-4 with 10:32 left in first.
Trojans waking up. Have outscored Shaw 6-1 to trail by 3 with the ball. Couldn't convert. Shaw can. Verdine Warner puts Bears up 15-10. Mitchell makes it 4-0 run for 17-10 and Shaw gets the ball back again after TO. Mitchell on a roll. 19-10 now with 5:49 left in half.
Mitchell just committed her second foul with 5 minutes to go. The Trojans are the only ranked team in the NCAA regionals. Anybody else would have to win the tourney to make it to postseason.
DeAnna Waters hits a sweet jumper to pull Trojans to 23-21 with 1:50 left. And just like that, Shaw scores 5 straight. That how the Bears wear teams down. They fight and fight to get back into the game only to have Shaw just run up another streak.
Halftime: Shaw 28, VSU 23. Trojans lucky to be down by only 5. Shot just 29.6%. Both teams were a combined 1 of 9 from 3-pt. range.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: VSU is making a run. Trail 32-29 with 16:27 left. Let's see how Shaw responds.
VSU just missed a layup that would have cut the lead to 1. That's the second time in the game. I won't name names so not to embarrass anyone – YET – but dang. And what happens, Warner puts it in for Shaw. Bears holding on to an 8-pt lead with 11:14 left.
Here we go again: Jessica Lyons hits a layup to cut the lead to 3 with 7:35 left. Pryncess Tate-Dublin hits a short jumper to make it a 1pt game. Tate-Dublin puts the Trojans on top with a 48-46 for the first time today. Ariel Hatcher comes down and ties the game with 6:41 left. Finally, some action.
Tate-Dublin is on fire. Nails another one. Trojans lead 50-48. And Warner ties it up. Lyons hits a 3 before Mitchell makes a layup. VSU by 1 with 5:05 left. Tiffanie Adair makes a layup before Micah Brooks basket. VSU still by 1 with 4:20 left.
Shaw misses a breakaway layup but Kamiya Burwell gets the rebound and is fouled. Makes both FT. Bears lead by 1. Tate-Dublin gives VSU back the lead. Tate-Dublin has 21 pts. Warner makes 1 FT and we're all tied with 1:27 left. Shaw has ball with 1 minute left. Warner is dominated the offensive boards, although several folks think she's been over the back. But if they don't call it, it's not a foul. Makes 1. Makes 2. Shaw leads 59-57 with 40.7 seconds left.
Trojans miss opportunity. Couldn't get the shot or the putback. Hatcher is at the line. Makes 1. Misses 2. 60-57 with 17.4 left. Trojans need a 3. I know, duh!
Lyons misses a 3-ptrs. Shaw gets rebound and Brooks is fouled. Only need 1 with 5.5 seconds left. Misses,VSU ges rebound and Cana Marriott hits a 2 at the buzzer. Thing is, they needed a 3. Foot was clearly on the line. Shaw wins by 1.
GAME THREE: LIVINGSTONE VS. FAYETTEVILLE ST. - MEN
Both teams with spirited play early on. Broncos take 7-4 lead but BB are playing with more passion than last night's matchup vs. St. Aug's.
Mark Thomas ties the game at 12. Thomas was a beast against the Falcons, scoring 28 pts.
I don't know who started the idea of women and tatoos, but it is so unattractive.
I took a walk around TWC Arena in between sessions and I tell you it was dead. I can remember when there were vendors on three levels. Now, it's just one and you can barely find anything worth anything.
Jody Hill hits a 3 and BB lead 15-12. Broncos retake the lead 22-21 after trailing 21-16. Anthony Shelton's 3 makes it 25-21.
Looking at the NCCA regional rankings, VSU women are No. 5, Shaw is No. 8 and FSU is No. 9. On the men's side, no CIAA team is listed in the top 10. It's been years since the conference has been shut out, so the winner of the tourney will be the lone representative.
Broncos are looking good. Travis Marcus' layup gives FSU its biggest lead of 6-pts with 4:02 left in the first.
LC has scored 5 in a row and trail by 1. The Blue Bears would be ahead if they could grab a rebound, but Thomas takes care of that with a short jumper to give LC a 1-pt lead. Shelton nails another 3 to give FSU a 35-33 halftime lead.
Blue Bears lucky to be down by only 2 after shooting 29.4%. Thomas and Hill tied for 10 points apiece, while Shelton was the game's high scorer at 11.
BB have scored the first 7 pts in the second half and lead 40-35.
Tyrrel Tate breaks the drought with a 3-pt play, but Anthony Welch gives BB another 3 pts. Thomas adds another 3 for a 46-38 lead. And Eric Mayo gets the putback for LC's biggest lead yet of 10 with 15:35 left. Now at 11. Now at 13. Marquette Hill finally ends the streak with a dunk. 14:07 left and LC leads 53-42. Now 55-42.
Thomas hits another 3. Now has 24 points.
Broncos have scored 5 straight. Trail by 7 with 10:07 left. TO Blue Bears.
Make that 5 now after Tate goes all the way for a layup. Torian Showers make it a 3-pt LC lead. Momentum has changed. Will we have a situation like the Winston-Salem vs. Lincoln women's game, where the Rams blew a 12-pt lead with 9 minutes left. Joshua Dawson ties the game with a 3 as he's falling down. 8:10 left. And now Broncos have chance to take first lead since halftime.
Dawson gives Broncos a 3-pt lead with a 3. Blue Bears look disorganized and frustrated. Tate's long turnaround makes it 67-62 with 6:29 left. TO Blue Bears.
Bailey ends the 16-0 Broncos run. Thomas just committed his 3rd personal foul. Broncos lead by 3 with 5:13 left. Tate fouls out for FSU with 4:27. He has 19 pts.
Thomas gives LC a 1-pt lead with a 3. 4:01 left. Blue Bears are letting Broncos just go to the basket uncontested. Nobody wants to draw a charge. Bailey hits 2 FTs to give LC a 3-pt lead with 2:37 left.
Mayo's FT makes it 2 pts LC lead with 2:06 left. FSU player steps out of bounds, giving BB ball back. Welch hits 2 FTs. Up by 4 until Juwan Addison goes in for layup. 73-71 LC. 1:25 left.
Mayo hits one FT for 3-pt lead. Dawson's 2 FTs trims it back to 1. Also commits a foul with 33 seconds left. Thomas at line but missed last time. Missed again. Makes second. BB by 2 with 33.2 seconds left. Folks are coming in for the JCSU vs. WSSU game next.
FSU called for an illegal screen. BB gets the ball back. Louis Craft fouls out with 25.9 seconds left. Mayo at the line. Misses 1. Makes 2. 3-pt lead.Mayo steals the ball AND is fouled. Makes 1 of 2. 77-73.
Marquette Hill is fouled. Misses 1. Misses both. It's WSSU women all over again. LC wins 79-73. Good game. They are back in the championship game for the second straight year and third of past four.
GAME FOUR: WSSU VS. JCSU - MEN
Smith is leading early 22-16. Golden Bulls defeated the Rams in their final 2-pt matchup. Remember, the first game was halted due to a hanging light fixture and resume two days later and won by Smith in OT. That loss cost the Rams the division title after they beat the Blue Bears in the regular season finale.
Smith is holding onto a 29-28 lead with 4 minutes left in the first. Feels like fans are still drained from the earlier game. I know I am.
Robert Williams gives Smith its biggest lead of 13. Rams score right before halftime so Golden Bulls lead 43-34.
Smith maintaining a 10-points lead after Robert Williams hits a jumper. 16:47 left in game.
Smith is pouring it on the Rams. Emilio Parks slam gives Golden Bulls a 12-pt lead with 13:36 left. Surprised at how many folks have left. Thought the crowd was waiting for this game but either they're going to party or to sleep.
Golden Bulls is kicking some serious Rams behind. Lead 57-41 with 12:47 left. If they have a double-digit lead by the 5-minute mark, I'm outta here. Been a long day and baby it's cold outside.
OK, Rams making a run. WyKevin Bazemore's layup cuts the lead to 11 with 9:35 left. Kerry Campbell scoops in a nice shot to trim to 9. But Antwan Wilkerson stops the bleeding and puts Smith back up by 11. Javan Wells counters with a 3. 61-53 with 8:37 left.
Preston Ross' putback makes it 6 points. Now it's at 4 with 6:43 left. TO Smith.
Alrightly, Marquez Jones' reverse layup pulls it to 2. Jones was fouled from 3-pt range. Misses, 1, 2, makes 3. One-pt. game. Smith goes back up by 3 after 2 FTs. Jones nails a 3 to tie the game wth 4:30 left. Somebody call the fire department, Jones is on fire!! He hits another 3 to give Rams their first lead of the second half.
Ross gives Rams a 5-pt lead with 2:46 left. Smith has self-destructed. 2 more FTs and Rams lead by 7. You're talking about a 23-pt turnaround by the Rams, and they have the ball. Smith has gone stone cold. Can't buy a bucket. Rams still ahead by 6 with 1:01 left.
What a turnaround for the Rams. Jones is at the line. Shoots 2 FTs. WSSU leads by 10. Rams win 78-71. Get out of Dodge!