Trevin Goodwin contributed to this story
CHARLOTTE, NC (February 27, 2019) – The Fayetteville State Broncos (20-7) used a stifling defensive effort to claim a 55-42 win over the Clalfin Panthers (15-14) in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament. The Broncos utilized a stifling defensive effort to claim the win and advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament.
“I think we started the game a little tight. We started the game a little slow but we were able to maintain and play solid defense throughout,” Fayetteville State women’s basketball head coach Serena King-Coleman said. “We knew that the points were going to eventually come and we disciplined were able to finish out the game.”
Defense definitely was the name of the game as both teams put up a great effort to slow down their opponents. The Broncos got the better of the Panthers as they held Claflin to shooting just 32.6% (15-of-46) from the floor and forced 24 Panther turnovers. The Broncos were especially tough in the paint as they held a 42-33 rebounding edge of the Panthers with nine blocked shots. However, Claflin also put on a strong defensive showing of their own as they held Fayetteville State to shooting just 35.8% (19-of-53) from the floor. Freshman guard Dashia Jackson led the way for the Panthers with a game-high 18 points while graduate forward Ashley Fields added 13 points and nine rebounds in the game. The Broncos were led by junior guard Katisha Hyman who totaled 17 points with nine rebounds, five assists, and five steals in the game while junior guard Shantel Bennett added 10 points with five rebounds and four steals.
The strong defensive tone of the game was set early as the Broncos and the Panthers combined for just 23 first quarter points. The two teams were a combined five-for-19 in the first six minutes of the game. Fayetteville State made the most of their strong defensive start as they built a 9-5 lead through the first media timeout with 3:23 left in the first quarter, but Claflin would answer in a big way when they went on a six-point run to take an 11-9 lead with 2:18 left in the first quarter. A three-pointer from Ashley Fields put the exclamation on the Panthers’ effort and left the team with a 14-9 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter belonged to the Broncos as they held the Panthers to just five second quarter points. They got the quarter started with some great defensive intensity as they held the Panthers scoreless for the first six minutes of the quarter and took an 18-14 lead before Claflin’s Jackson hit a lay-up with 3:25 left in the quarter to end the drought. The Broncos continued to remain in control as a jumper from Fayetteville State sophomore guard Michelle Gainey gave the Broncos a 24-17 lead with 1:39 left in the quarter. Claflin was able to get a jumper from Fields with 00:27 left in the quarter to leave the Broncos with a 24-19 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the defensive trend continued in spite of a sharp-shooting start by both teams. After both teams opened the quarter with made shots, the Broncos found themselves with a 28-22 lead following a jumper from junior forward Darria Hewitt with 8:31 left in the quarter. From there, the Broncos’ defensive play began to take center stage when they held the Panthers to just four more points for the remainder of the quarter. While the Broncos also found shots hard to make in the quarter, they were able to make the most of their trips to the free throw line as they pushed their lead to eight points, 34-24 lead after a pair of Harris free throws with 1:42 left in the quarter. Claflin would get a layup from junior forward Shakarri Mack to cut their deficit down to eight points, 34-26 at the end of the quarter.
The effects of the tough play over the first three quarters showed in the fourth quarter as both teams were able to put points on the scoreboard. However, in the end, it was the Broncos who were able to really kick things into gear as they outscored the Panthers 21-16 to finish the game with the win. Claflin started the quarter strong as they cut their deficit down to eight points, 38-30, after a jumper from freshman guard Dionna Long with 8:05 left in the game. From there, the Broncos once again took over the game. The team went on an 10-2 run to take a 48-32 lead over the Panthers following a lay-up from junior guard Chantel Williams with 5:04 left in the game. Claflin made one last stand in the finals minuts when a Jackson free throw capped a late run that cut the team’s deficit to just nine points, 51-42 with 00:49 left to play. But the effort was a bit too late as Fayetteville State went on to close out the 55-42 win.
With the win, the Broncos advance to the semifinal round of the 2019 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament where they will face winner of the Bowie State/Elizabeth City State quarterfinal game.
For more information on the 2019 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament, log on to www.theciaa.com.