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Lady Vikings rally to top Lady Bears

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Staff Photo by Thomas J. Turney Elizabeth City State University's Jalyn Brown takes a shot over former ECSU teammate Imani Heggins, Tuesday. Heggins is a starting forward at Shaw.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Writer

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Even though it was rocky, the Elizabeth City State women’s basketball team found a way.

The Lady Vikings rallied in the fourth quarter to earn a 51-45 win over Shaw on Tuesday night at the Vaughan Center.

Jalyn Brown led the Lady Vikings (3-5, 1-0 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) with 16 points and four rebounds in ECSU’s conference opener.

The win extended the Lady Vikings winning streak to two games.

After trailing by seven in the fourth, ECSU tied it at 45 with a layup by Brown.

Brown gave ECSU a 46-45 after a free throw.

Shaw had the chance to retake the lead but Imani Heggins — who played for the Lady Vikings last season — missed a layup with 39 seconds remaining.

Free throws by Brown, Jasmine Nixon, D'Asya Wilson and Ty'Ais Cooper in the final minute iced it for the Lady Vikings.

Brown credited heart, guts, defense and the team not getting down for ECSU’s comeback.

“Digging deep within ourselves and knowing that we can do what we are expected to do,” she said.

“We are learning how to deal with adversity and play through adversity,” ECSU women’s coach John Hill added.

The coach said that with a roster full of new players, the team is starting to hit its stride.

“We’re getting better. We’re just showing some progress,” Hill said. “It is a testament that we are actually beginning to get better.”

Shaw (2-8, 0-2 CIAA) took a 39-32 lead early in the fourth quarter.

After the Lady Bears went on the run, ECSU went back to a slower tempo play.

“We adjusted back to what we were doing,” Brown said.

Chalise Greenwood, who finished with nine points, connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth as one of her shots behind the 3-point line made it a 41-40 game with 3:52 remaining.

The key to the first 20 minutes for the Lady Vikings was controlling the offensive boards. The Lady Vikings out-rebounded Shaw 12-4 on the offensive glass in the first half. That helped pace ECSU to a 21-15 halftime lead.

Nixon led ECSU with 14 rebounds.

Heggins returns

At center court before the opening tip, there was nothing but smiles between Heggins and her former teammate Nixon.

Heggins, who was an all-CIAA performer for ECSU last season was now wearing Shaw black and maroon.

Heggins was one of several players that were cut from the team last spring by former ECSU coach Laquanda Dawkins.

Brown and Nixon were two of the holdovers from last season’s team that have contributed this season for ECSU.

Brown said that she met with Heggins before the game and added that there wasn’t any animosity between the two.

“We’re still family off the court, but once we step in between the lines, it is about me and the people I’m in the (same) jersey with,” Brown said.

Heggins — a native of Chesapeake, Virginia — finished with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.

After the contest, it appeared that Heggins was going to head straight to the locker room to avoid the post game team high five at the scorer’s table, but it was her teammates at Shaw that encouraged her to join the line.

When she did, Heggins received hugs from Brown and Nixon.

MEN

Shaw 73, ECSU 67: The Vikings were unable to recover from a Shaw 16-2 first half run as the Vikings fell to Shaw 73-67 on Tuesday.

Elon Edwards led ECSU (1-8, 0-1 CIAA) with 16 points, while Kyree Marshall followed with 14 points and John Maynor added 11 points.

ECSU took a 67-66 lead with 2:38 to go after a pair of free throws by Maynor, but Benji Bell — a transfer from Florida State — scored the final seven points for Shaw to close out the game.

Bell led Shaw (4-3, 1-0 CIAA) with 28 points in the win.

“We are going through the process of learning the system and getting better each game,” ECSU acting head coach Lou Grimsley said. “Right now, the things that we do in practice is not transferring over to the game, but it’s starting to.”

The coach highlighted the Vikings improved defensive effort in the second half. ECSU only surrendered 30 points.

Up next, ECSU hosts Saint Augustine’s today. The women tipoff at 5:30 p.m., while the men start at 7:30 p.m.


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