ELIZABETH CITY, NC (Dec. 3,2018) – Claflin University guard Ashley Fields tossed in a buzzer-beating desperation jumper as Elizabeth City State lost its CIAA opener, 47-45, in the Robert L. Vaughan Center.
Deadlocked at 45-45, Claflin inbounded the ball of the left side with 10 seconds remaining. Senior guard Deja Dickens launched a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining from the right side of the key. Fields and a pair of Vikings went after the long rebound which came down right of the free throw stripe. Fields controlled the ball and flipped in the game winner while falling away from the basket to stun ECSU.
The game was tied 37-37 after three quarters before a layup by junior forward Naterria Lustergave the Vikings their last lead of the night at 41-39 with 6:27 remaining. But freshman guard Donna Long and Fields fired in back-to-back 3-point jumpers to put the Panthers into a 45-41 lead with just under four minutes left.
Junior forward Markeia Porter hit a layup ahead of a jumper by Luster to knot the score at 45-45 with 1:31 on the clock, setting the stage for the final frantic moments. The Vikings could not a manage a bucket on two possessions in the final minute of play.
The teams exchanged short runs as the Vikings carried a hard-fought 22-20 advantage to the locker room. A 3-point jumper by freshman guard Asia Deal followed by a layup by senior guard Jalyn Brown gave ECSU a 22-18 lead with 1:42 left in the half before Panther senior center Carmen Robinson dropped in a jumper in the final minute to make it a 2-point game.
Sophomore guard Tatyanna Hollins nailed a 3-point jumper to cap a 7-0 run over the final 2:20 of the first quarter by the Panthers as the visitors seized a 16-9 edge.
But ECSU answered with an 8-0 spurt to begin the second period as Porter and Deal hit layups ahead of a jump shot and a layup by Brown to give the Vikings a 17-16 lead.
Junior forward Devona Stell notched her second double-double of the season, leading the Vikings in scoring with 18 and in rebounding with 16. Brown added 10 points and three rebounds with Deal tallying seven points. Luster finished with six points and six rebounds while junior guard DeNayia Holmes paced ECSU with six assists and three steals.
Fields topped Claflin with 13 points and eight rebounds while Dickens contributed nine points and a game-high five steals. Robinson added eight points and five rebounds.
The Vikings (4-4, CIAA 0-1) travel to Regent University in Virginia Beach on Saturday for a 2 p.m. non-conference test. Claflin (5-4, CIAA 3-1) hosts Virginia Union in a CIAA doubleheader with the women tipping off at 5:30 p.m. The men’s game will follow at 7:30.