CHARLOTTE, NC – The Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (17-11) opened the 2016 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women's Basketball Championship with an impressive 70-50 win over the Elizabeth City State Lady Vikings (8-18), Tuesday afternoon. The Golden Bulls combined an impressive uptempo play with some high-pressure defense to secure the victory over the Lady Vikings.
The Golden Bulls took the win behind a great overall effort in the game as they held the Lady Vikings to just 50 points while holding them to shooting just 27.2% (18-of-66) from the floor. The Golden Bulls had a solid day of their own as they shot a smoking hot 45.3% (24-of-53) from the floor, including shooting 33.3% (Four-of-12) from the three-point line. The Golden Bulls did the majority of their damage on the interior with 36 points coming in the paint. JCSU junior guard Asha Jordan led the way for the Golden Bulls with a game-high 18 points while freshman guard A'Diyah Ussery added 11 points. Senior forward Ashley Porter had near double-double with nine points and six rebounds in the game as well.
"I'm proud of these young ladies," JCSU head coach Stephen Joyner, Jr. said following the game. "Ashley [Porter] got a little lost a
Elizabeth City gave a strong effort of their own with 14 points from junior guard Imani Heggins, 15 points from senior guard Breona Jones, and 11 points from senior center Jasmine Nixon.
In the first half, Johnson C. Smith used an uptempo attack, combined with some strong physical play to jump ahead of the Lady Vikings, 41-27. The Golden Bulls got things started early as they held the Lady Vikings without a field goal for the first three minutes of the game and jumped out to a 6-2 lead before ECSU broke into the scoring column on a jumper from senior center Jasmine Nixon. The Golden Bulls would push their lead to as many as eight points, after a three-pointer from Ussery at the 5:10 mark put the Golden Bulls on top, 12-4. Elizabeth City State would claw use an offensive attack of their own to work their way back into the game with a 14-6 run, capped by a three-pointer from junior guard Imani Heggins that left the Golden Bulls on top, 18-14 with 00:29 left in the quarter. Johnson C. Smith would cap the quarter with a jumper of their own at the 00:12 mark that left the Golden Bulls with a 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Johnson C. Smith jumped ahead once again in the second quarter as they outscored the Lady Vikings, 9-2 in the first four minutes of the quarter. The JCSU defense was especially impressive as they held Elizabeth City State to just one field goal during the run and pushed their lead to 14 points, 30-16 after a three-pointer from sophomore guard Asha Jordan with 6:01 left in the quarter. Though Elizabeth City State would get their offense into gear, the Golden Bulls kept their pressure up to build their largest lead of the game, 37-22 after a jumper from junior guard Quinesha Lynch at the 2:57 mark. In the final minutes of the quarter, both teams clamped down on defense with JCSU managing just one field goal during the span while ECSU was never able to get any closer than 10 points after a pair of free throws from Nixon left the Lady Vikings trailing, 37-27 with 1:59 left. Johnson C. Smith would close quarter with four unanswered points, including a Jordan jumper that left the Golden Bulls ahead, 41-27 at the half.
In the fourth quarter, Johnson C. Smith simply pulled away from the Lady Vikings as they took advantage of some ECSU foul troubles to seal the win. In the quarter the Golden Bulls outscored the Lady Vikings, 13-6 en route to the victory. The Golden Bulls opened the quarter with a 7-3 run to go ahead 66-47 after a pair of Porter free throws at the 3:00 minute mark. From there, the Lady Vikings made an effort to get back into the game, but as the team was hampered by foul troubles and would never get any closer than 16 points, 66-50, after a Heggins free throw at the 1:37 mark. JCSU added four more points to close out the win.
With the win, the fourth-seeded Golden Bulls will advance to the quarterfinal round of the championship tournament to face the Virginia Union Lady Panthers, the top-seeded team from the CIAA Northern Division. The Golden Bulls and the Lady Panthers will face off in a 2:20 p.m. game tomorrow at the Time Warner Cable Arena.