The women’s CIAA basketball season has been very interesting as it looks to be a one-division conference to this point.
The CIAA North has five teams that hold above .500 conference records while the South has just two.
Just like on the men’s side, there are a number of teams that could conceivably win the conference tournament making the anticipation for the first CIAA tourney in Baltimore that much more exciting.
As we come down the final stretch of the regular season, here is the midseason report card for CIAA women’s basketball.
Lincoln (PA): A+
The Lincoln Lions are on a mission to avenge their 2019-2020 season that saw them cruise to a 23-6 record only to lose in the first round of the CIAA tournament.
They are on pace for another 20-win year currently holding a 13-4 record including a 6-1 conference record.
The Lions have the top offense and defense winning by an average margin just shy of 13 points while they have won conference games by a 15.8 margin.
The only real bad blemish on their record so far, is an 11-point loss to Claflin, being Lincoln’s only loss to a team with a losing record.
Other than that, the Lions have been on a roll winning nine of their last 10 games with guard Bryanna Brown looking primed to win the CIAA Player of the Year Award and a possible All-American selection.
Elizabeth City State: B+
Although Elizabeth City State has the second-best overall record in the CIAA at 13-5, they get a B+ because they rank outside the top six in conference play and are fourth in division play.
The Vikings have played very well outside the conference going 8-1 with wins against Albany State, Clark Atlanta, Chowan, Fayetteville State (counted as a non-conference win but their loss to them in their second meeting was a conference loss), and West Virginia State.
They are among the top shot-blocking teams in the country tied for eighth in blocked shots per game and 10th in total blocks.
On the other hand, the Vikings have lost three of their last four games all in conference play including two losses to division opponents.
Elizabeth City State could be a dangerous team in the Division II tournament but it needs to shake off its struggles in conference play or risk being a first-round knockout in the CIAA tourney.
Bowie State: B
Just like their men’s team, the Bowie State Bulldogs have a slightly above average overall record but are playing excellent in the conference.
The Bulldogs are tied for the best record in CIAA play at 7-3 with wins in each of their last four contests and five wins in their last six.
Outside the CIAA, the Bulldogs are 2-5, but all of their losses come against teams with a record at or above .500.
The only loss Bowie has this season against a team with a sub .500 record is to the Livingstone Blue Bears.
The biggest struggle for Bowie State has been scoring ranking second to last in the CIAA overall and in conference play.
Shaw is a tough team to grade given its 8-10 overall record but is 5-4 in conference play and 3-2 in its division.
The Bears have some impressive wins on their resume including handing Lincoln its lone division loss and Bowie State.
On the flip side, Shaw had a 41-point loss to Fayetteville State and a 45-point loss to Johnson C. Smith.
Virginia State: C-
Virginia State is a rarity that has a .500 record overall and in conference play but gets knocked down to a C- due to having a 1-3 division record.
Although the Trojans do not have a non-conference win against a team with a record above .500 currently, they do have quality conference wins against Johnson C. Smith and Fayetteville State.
The Trojans’ five conference losses have come by an average margin of 13 points with three of their five conference losses coming by a margin of over 10 points.
Virginia Union: D
Rounding out the CIAA North are the Virginia Union Panthers who are the only team in the division with a losing record.
The Panthers have the second-lowest overall scoring margin at -8.1 and the lowest in conference play at -7.7.
Only one of Virginia Union’s 10 losses this season has come by a margin of less than five points.
To be fair, Virginia Union does hold quality wins over Winston-Salem State and most recently against Shaw.
Also read: CIAA men’s basketball midseason report card
Johnson C. Smith: A
It was a close debate of who should have the highest grade in the CIAA South between Johnson C. Smith and Fayetteville State.
With the Golden Bulls holding the better overall and division record, they get the nod with wins in each of their last six games including all five of their division wins.
Outside the CIAA they have wins against Clark Atlanta, Albany State and two wins over Bluefield State.
The one knock on Johnson C. Smith is four of its six losses come by a margin of 20 points or more.
The Golden Bulls are one of the most disciplined teams in the CIAA allowing just 296 free throw attempts the fewest in the conference.
Fayetteville State: A-
Fayetteville State has the best conference record in the CIAA South at 7-3 including wins against Shaw, Elizabeth City State, and Lincoln (PA).
The Broncos are the top defensive team in the conference allowing 57.4 points on 34% shooting from the field and 24% from three-point range.
They do, however, have head-to-head losses against each of their top two competitors in the division as well as a loss to Virginia State.
Winston-Salem State: A-
Rounding out the top half of the CIAA South is the Winston-Salem State Rams who are looking to win their first conference title in school history.
The Rams are the top offensive team in the conference averaging 71.4 points overall and 72.7 in CIAA play.
They have been in a slight slump as of late losing four of their last seven games including losses to bottom tier CIAA teams St. Augustine’s and Virginia Union.
St. Augustine’s: C-
The CIAA South is a tale of two halves with the top three being teams that are contenders with a good chance of taking the conference title while the bottom three are less than favorable teams.
The best of the bottom three is St. Augustine’s which has seven wins on the season with three coming in division play.
Outside of games against CIAA South opponents, the Falcons are 4-9 overall and 0-5 in conference play.
SAU’s lone win versus a team with a winning record is Winston-Salem State on their home court.
While this has not exactly been a banner season for Claflin, the Panthers have not been so bad in conference play.
Of their four wins this season, three have come against CIAA teams including a win over the conference-leading Lincoln (PA).
Their biggest problem for Claflin has the team’s play on the road as it has yet to get in the win column going 0-9.
This has been nothing short of a nightmare season for the Livingstone Blue Bears who currently hold the worst record in the CIAA at 3-15.
Outside of wins against Bowie State and Virginia State, it has been a struggle for Livingstone to make games competitive let alone for them to get a win.
They have the worst scoring margin in the conference at -11.5 with four of their losses coming by at least a 20-point margin and nine of at least a 10-point margin.
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