Saint Augustine’s College Tops VUU 69-53 In CIAA
First-Round Women's Game
February 28, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Saint Augustine's College has relied on seniors Allison Sikes (Richmond, Va.) and Le'Kiesha White (Richmond, Va.) all season, but it was another senior who helped the Lady Falcons win their first-round women's basketball game in the CIAA Tournament Monday afternoon.
Senior guard Crystal McCaffity (Havelock, N.C.) scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting including a perfect 4-for-4 from the three-point line in a 69-53 victory over Virginia Union at Time Warner Cable Arena. Freshman forward Umeka Benson, the CIAA rookie of the year, added 13 points and 13 rebounds. Benson, who came off the bench, was named Food Lion Game MVP in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
The victory sends the Lady Falcons (18-10 overall), the No. 4 Southern Division seed, to Tuesday's quarterfinal round. They face Elizabeth City State, the top Northern Division seed, at 7 p.m. The Lady Falcons defeated the Lady Vikings in their only matchup 69-64 on Jan. 20 in Elizabeth City, N.C.
The Lady Falcons needed contributions from other players on a day when both Sikes and White struggled offensively. Sikes, the CIAA player of the year, scored nine points, snapping a string of 10 consecutive games of scoring in double-figures. The last time both teams met, Sikes had a triple-double of 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 steals in an 82-48 win on Jan. 13. White also scored nine points, but McCaffity led a balanced scoring attack. Both junior guard Brittany Torain (Warner Robins, Ga.) and freshman guard Ebony Spencer (Chesapeake, Va.) added eight points, and sophomore forward Scharlawn Hubbard (Akron, Ohio) chipped in six points.
“McCaffity's contribution was huge, especially for her to step in when Sikes' shots weren't falling,” said Lady Falcon Head Coach Rachel Bullard, getting her first CIAA tournament victory. “It was really big for Crystal and Umeka to step up and find their games.”
Tiffany Clarke had 15 points and eight rebounds and Alaura Jones added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Panthers (3-23), the No. 5 Northern Division seed. The Lady Panthers led only once but scared the Lady Falcons briefly with an 11-0 run in a four-minute span which chopped the deficit to 58-45.
Benson stopped the run with a layup and steal which led to a Spencer jumper for a 62-45 Lady Falcon lead with 4:39 remaining. The basket was two of 27 points off turnovers for the Lady Falcons, who have capitalized off opponent's mistakes throughout the season with pressure defense.
“When we pick up our defensive intensity, it complements our offensive intensity,” White said.
Added Bullard: “Defense is our friend. When we play good defense it leads to great offense.”
Defense led to the Lady Falcons shooting over 40 percent (43 percent) for the first time in 12 games. Led by Benson, the Lady Falcons also outrebounded the Lady Panthers 40-32 including 19-9 in offensive rebounds which led to 12 second-chance points. It all adds up to a first-round win for the Lady Falcons.
“We are living to fight another day,” Bullard said.
In the first half, McCaffity scored eight points while Sikes and Hubbard both added six points each to give the Lady Falcons a 32-20 halftime lead. Spencer and Benson both scored four points for the Lady Falcons, who shot 42 percent in the first half.
Sikes jumpstarted the Lady Falcons early. She scored six points in the game's first eight minutes to give the Lady Falcons a 13-4 lead.