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Top 10 Stories of 2016 — No. 3: Majority of ECSU women's basketball team cut; coach quits

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File Photo Former Elizabeth City State women's basketball coach Laquanda Dawkins led the Lady Vikings to an 8-18 mark in her only season.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Writer

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

After an 8-18 season, it appeared that former Elizabeth City State women’s basketball coach Laquanda Dawkins might need to make changes to the roster.

The Lady Vikings, however, did have some pieces to build upon.

Dawkins, the then first-year coach of the Lady Vikings, had all-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association performers Jalyn Brown and Imani Heggins to go along with guard Breona Jones — who was the 2014-15 CIAA Rookie of the Year — returning for 2016-17.

That potential was not enough for the former North Carolina player as she, according to multiple players, cut the majority of the team following the end of the 2015-16 season.

According to the players, Dawkins held individual player evaluations during the spring where they were informed that they were released from the program.

Dawkins only gave Brown and Jasmine Nixon the opportunity to return to the Lady Vikings.

Some of the former players were in a tough situation as the lost financial aid from athletics made it difficult to for them continue their education at ECSU.

Former ECSU player Alliyah Floyd claimed in early August to The Daily Advance that by getting cut, she lost an athletic financial aid package worth at least $5,000.

Building trust between the players and Dawkins was one of the issues the Lady Vikings had in Dawkins’ only season in Elizabeth City.

“I'm not sure about her vision,” Heggins told The Daily Advance in August. “I was a piece that she couldn't use.”

Days after the story went public in August, Dawkins resigned as women’s basketball coach and as a lecturer at ECSU citing personal reasons.

John Hill, the former men’s coach at CIAA school Lincoln (Pa.), now leads the Lady Vikings.

As for the two holdovers, Brown leads the Lady Vikings in scoring while Nixon is one of ECSU’s top rebounders this season.

Jones and Heggins ended up taking their talents to other CIAA schools.

Both landed at Southern Division programs as Jones went to Fayetteville State and Heggins found a home at Shaw.

They both made their returns to Elizabeth City this season.

Jones scored 12 points to help Fayetteville State beat ECSU 57-56 on Nov. 26, while Heggins also scored 12 points in her return to the Vaughan Center despite the Lady Vikings besting the Lady Bears 51-45 on Dec. 13.

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