Charlotte, NC – Virginia State University shook off a slow start and pulled away from St. Augustine’s University in the second half to take a 73-40 win in the first round of the 2017 CIAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Bojangles’ Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.
After trading leads for the first four minutes, the Northern Division six-seed St. Augustine’s Falcons surged ahead 9-5 following two free throws from Kiana Clark (Queens, NY) at the 2:19 mark. VSU then scored five straight points thanks to a free throw from Taylor Daniels (Hampton, VA), four from Mia Fitts (Richmond, VA), allowing the Trojans to claim the 10-9 lead. VSU would add a Tierra Richberg (Williston, SC) basket to go ahead 12-9 at the end of the quarter.
In the second, SAU battled back to force the 15-15 tie after a Quiera Gilmore (Charlotte, NC) bucket with 5:57 before halftime. Virginia State then went on an 11-2 run to push the lead to 26-17 following a Pitts three-pointer. The VSU lead then grew to 30-20 after a pair of free throws from Fitts. She would add two more with four seconds before the break to provide VSU with the 33-21 halftime lead.
The VSU lead would swell to as many as 30 points in the third quarter, as VSU outscored the Falcons 28-10 in the frame, jumping out to a 63-31 lead.
St. Augustine’s would get no closer than 36 points the rest of the way as Virginia State cruised to the 73-40 win.
Virginia State forced 28 turnovers, leading to 23 Trojan points and also held the 18-1 advantage in second-chance points.
VSU had two players score 16 points in Nandi Taylor (Mt. Morris, MI) and Mia Fitts. Tierra Richberg added 13 while teammate Alison Bragaw-Butler (Arlington, VA) chipped in 10 points.
SAU’s Shakeisha Washington (Atlanta, Ga.) had 11 points to lead the Falcons.
With the win, VSU improves to 20-7 on the season while SAU completes their year at 3-26.
The Trojans advance to take on the Southern Division second-seed Livingstone Blue Bears at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.