HOLT LIFTS VIRGINIA STATE OVER LIVINGSTONE TO OPEN CIAA TOURNAMENT
CHARLOTTE – Twice the Livingstone Blue Bears left Brianna Holt alone on the wing in the second half of Tuesday’s opening round CIAA Tournament game.
And twice Holt burned them.
all players with 19 points, hitting those two pivotal 3-pointers to
spark a decisive 17-5 run as Virginia State held off the
upset-minded Blue Bears 72-54 to advance to the tournament’s
second round at TimeWarner Cable Arena.
Virginia State will play the North’s No. 2 seed, Bowie State, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The Lady Trojans split the regular season meetings with the Lady Bulldogs.
was close throughout as both teams struggled to find any
consistency with their shooting from the floor. Livingstone (7-22),
the Southern Division’s No. 6 seed, finished shooting just 35
percent from the floor while Northern Division third seed Virginia
State (17-12) shot just 38 percent.
But Holt was the constant throughout, hitting 7 of 8 from the foul line in the first half to help the Lady Trojans to a 26-21 edge at the break. The two 3s were even more critical, spurring the run not long after the Blue Bears had just ripped off an 11-3 spurt to take a 38-37 lead with 11:56 to go in the game.
answered with a pair of foul shots to give the lead back to
Virginia State, then hit 3s on two of the next three possessions to
put Virginia State back in front, 46-38, with 10 minutes left.
Livingstone never got closer than six points the rest of the
“We came out of the huddle and wanted to run our overload play, setting up shooters on the right and the left,” said Virginia State head coach James Hill, who notched his 99th career victory. “We knew we would have an opportunity to get a couple of open looks, and if you don’t shoot it, you’ll never know whether you’ll make it or not.”
Angelyne Brown said Holt’s two 3s were daggers.
“We tried to switch up defensively and when we did, (the Lady Trojans) were able to kick it back out, and that was the difference,” Brown said. “We had opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize.”
Deal added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Trojans while
Da’Shae Jones had 14 points.
Kelcyn Manurs led Livingstone with 13 points while Jasmine Murray had 12. Tyesha Tharpe led all players with 13 rebounds.
half was a struggle for both teams, with Livingstone shooting just
29 percent from the field. Virginia State wasn’t much better,
connecting on just 32 percent of its shot attempts.
That enabled the game to stay close, though the Lady Trojans managed to build their largest lead after Marquilla Evans capped a 9-2 run with 3-pointer for a 25-17 lead with 3:18 to go in the period.
State’s defense frustrated the Lady Blue Bears, forcing 11
turnovers and holding Livingstone without a field goal for nearly 4
½ minutes at the end of the half. Still, the Blue Bears
remained close, snapping the drought with a three-point play by
Sophie Lepzem with 41.2 seconds to go, leading to the halftime
score of 26-21.
“I knew having the 11 a.m. game it would be a slow game,” Hill said. “This is the first time for a lot of our girls to have the arena experience, but I think we were able to get the butterflies out of our stomachs by playing this morning.”