Feb 25, 2009
Saint Augustine's College overcame tired legs and a season-high 37 turnovers in a 76-69 upset win over No. 2 seed Fayetteville State on Wednesday (Feb. 25) in the CIAA women's basketball quarterfinals at Time Warner Cable Arena.
With the win, the Lady Falcons reached the women's semifinals for the first time in nine years.
"This win is for Saint Augustine's College," said first-year Head Coach Margaret Richards. "But we still have a few more steps to complete."
The Lady Falcons (15-13 overall), who will face Johnson C. Smith in Friday's semifinals at 3 p.m., hit 8 of 10 free throw attempts in the final two minutes to prevail against the Lady Broncos (19-8), ranked fourth in the Atlantic Region before the contest.
The Lady Falcons once again relied on defense and the play of CIAA rookie of the year Keyona Bryant to offset the high number of turnovers. The Lady Broncos shot 27 percent on 20 of 74 shooting against the Lady Falcons, who leads the CIAA in field-goal percentage defense. A zone defense helped the Lady Falcons rally from a 59-53 deficit with 8:16 remaining in the game.
"Defense and rebounding won this game for us," said Richards, whose Lady Falcons closed with a 23-10 run in the final 8:16. "We went to a 2-3 zone and got stops when we needed them."
Bryant poured in game-high 28 points on 7-for-12 field goal shooting and 14-for-18 free throw shooting to spark the Lady Falcons, including 7-for-8 free throw attempts in a decisive two-minute stretch in the second half. She also led both teams with 13 rebounds and Allison Sikes added 12 rebounds for the Lady Falcons, who outrebounded the Lady Broncos 55-40.
Dierra Washington added 10 points and both Brittany Parker and Tiana Morris scored 9 points for the Lady Falcons. Morris, a sophomore guard from Raleigh, N.C., hit a key 3-pointer and two free throws down the stretch in best game as a Lady Falcon.
Erica Gilley scored 21 points, L'Oreal Price added 17 points and Chelsea Jeter had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the deeper Lady Broncos, whose signature pressure defense led to 19 steals but couldn't wear down the Lady Falcons, who beat Elizabeth City State 86-58 in the first round less than 24 hours earlier.
In the first half, the Lady Falcons only trailed 33-32 despite 20 first-half turnovers. They continued to give away the basketball but the Lady Broncos could never capitalize, thanks to the Lady Falcons' defense.
"Defense wins championships," Richards said.
The Lady Falcons haven't won a championship yet but they have advanced farther than anyone expected, while the Lady Broncos will wait to see if they get an NCAA regional bid.
In the first half, both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm. Parker and Bryant each scored 9 points for the Lady Falcons, who shot 42 percent and outrebounded the Lady Broncos 27-17. Gilley had 10 points and Price added 9 points for the Lady Broncos.
The win was the first for the Lady Falcons in three meetings against the Lady Broncos this season.