CHARLOTTE — The Elizabeth City State women’s basketball team won its quarterfinal CIAA tournament contest against St. Augustine’s Wednesday, using a late first half run to spark a 74-68 win in at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Next for ECSU, winners of 14-straight and the No. 1 seed out of the Northern Division, is a Friday semifinal game at 3 p.m. against Shaw (22-4), the No. 2 seed from the Southern Division and the defending Division II national champion. The Lady Bears beat Winston-Salem State in another quarterfinal game later in the day.
ECSU (24-3) beat Shaw, ranked No. 16 in the latest USA Today Division II coaches poll, in a high-scoring affair 96-86 on Jan. 3 at the R.L. Vaughan Center.
St. Augustine’s had taken out the Lady Vikings in their last two CIAA tournament meetings, but ECSU put together an 11-1 run in the last three minutes of the first half to stay ahead throughout the teams’ third-straight tourney game.
In her first start of the year, Shawnte Taylor scored 14 points in 31 minutes of play, while Stephanie Harper had a game-high 19 and 10 rebounds. DaShera Boone had 10 off the bench.
“It was a hard fought game, a tough game,” ECSU coach Alico Dunk said. “We knew coming in that this team was going to be very scrappy and they fought hard to the end. They posed a lot of problems for us because they play five guards.”
After back-to-back buckets from Taylor that put ECSU up 40-28, the Lady Falcons cut it to three twice.
But holding a 58-55 advantage with seven minutes left, Elizabeth City State’s power and size on the inside proved to be too much. The Lady Vikings scored 22 points in the paint in comparison to 10 from St. Augustine’s.
Derricka Henry added nine points and Shatara Jackson eight against a Lady Falcons team that ECSU beat at home Jan. 5 by a 70-60 score.
“I think we did a good job of guarding them in the second half,” Dunk said. “In the first half, we were just trying to find our way. But as always, we found a way to win.”
Vikings’ opener today
The Elizabeth City men will make their tournament debut this afternoon in a quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. at the Time Warner Cable Arena when they take on Johnson C. Smith.
Although both teams have 16-10 records, Johnson C. Smith trounced the Vikings 87-59 in Charlotte last month in the only meeting between the two schools.