Fayetteville State University’s Women’s Basketball Team Returns to the CIAA Tournament Finals to Redeem Themselves from a 33 Point Loss in 2019

FSU Women's Post Game Interview
FSU Lady Broncos post-game interview, L-R: Seniors Katisha Hyman and Shantel Bennett with head coach Serena King-Coleman


March 11, 2020 5:20PM
Tahirah Farrer-Bradley
Tahirah Farrer-Bradley

In last year’s championship game, the Fayetteville State University (FSU) Lady Broncos were defeated by the reigning champions, Virginia Union University’s (VUU) Lady Panthers, in a devastating 33-point loss (74-41). The Lady Broncos could not contain Charlotte native Shareka McNeill who ended the game with 37 points and 5 rebounds. The Lady Broncos may have been interested in a rematch; however, the Lady Panthers’ hopes of a three-peat ended on February 28th in the semi-finals against Bowie State University’s (BSU) Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Bulldogs beat the Lady Panthers 53-41. This was in a sense redemption for the Lady Bulldogs as they were defeated by the Lady Panthers in the 2018 CIAA Tournament finals. BSU’s upset of the two-time reigning champions would send the Lady Bulldogs to the finals to face a team the Lady Panthers had easily beaten just last year.

Now, two teams beaten by VUU in the last two finals would face off, each looking for an opportunity to finally hoist the elusive CIAA tournament trophy.

In the first quarter, FSU looked as if they were playing with a chip on their shoulder. FSU had breezed through the quarter scoring 21-points with Shantel Bennett, Katisha Hyman, and Aminata Johnson leading the charge. Things looked dismal for BSU as they had only scored 7 points until senior guard, Shawnkia McCallum, and sophomore guard, Chyna Butler, both hit threes to get the Lady Bulldogs to 13 points to end the quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs started to make their presence felt in the second quarter. They started the quarter holding FSU to 21 points while they played catch-up. A three-pointer by BSU’s junior guard, Talanya Hutton, brought the Lady Bulldogs within 1 point of FSU. However, FSU’s zone contained BSU to the perimeter. FSU’s Aminata Johnson fouled BSU’s senior forward, Dynaisha Christian, as she was shooting. Although she was fouled, Christian made her shot giving BSU their first lead of the game (24-23). Christian missed her free throw attempt, but BSU’s sophomore guard, Drew Calhoun, made a three-pointer to increase BSU’s lead to 27-23. FSU continued fighting and with seconds left in the second quarter had gotten BSU’s lead down to just 2 points (32-30). In the final seconds of the quarter, FSU’s senior guard, Katisha Hyman, maneuvered allowing enough space between herself and BSU’s defense to put up a shot at the buzzer, she made the 2-pointer tying the game at 32.

BSU’s seniors came out of half-time ready to put their stamp on the game. Dynaisha Christian, and guard Amel Duggins, both drained three-pointers giving the Lady Bulldogs a 6-point lead. That energy didn’t last long as FSU only gave up 3 more points after BSU’s back-to-back threes. With perfect execution on both ends of the court, the momentum began to shift in FSU’s favor as they ended the quarter with a 6-point lead, 47-41.
The fourth quarter began with Kyaja Williams, BSU’s senior forward, hustling on defense. The teams exchanged baskets and BSU finally gets within 2-points after China Butler scores two points (49-47). Shantel Bennett, who has been a large presence for FSU throughout the game, continues her excellent play scoring 2 points to increase FSU’s lead, 51-47. Shawnkia McCallum turned the ball over leading to a fast break opportunity for FSU that ended with Katisha Hyman getting fouled. Hyman made both of her free throw shots putting FSU further in the lead, 53-47. The run by FSU didn’t last long as Kyaja Williams was fouled by Shantel Bennett as she was going to that basket. As Kyaja made the basket, she went to the free throw line with a three-point play opportunity. She made her free throw getting BSU within three, 53-50. After this play, FSU contained BSU to just three additional points while they went on to score 8 more.

With hustle and heart, FSU had done it, they had redeemed themselves from an embarrassing 33-point loss in the championship of last year’s CIAA Tournament.

Shantel Bennett, the Lady Broncos’ senior guard who scored 24 of FSU’s 61-points, won Food Lion’s MVP of the game.