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