Feb 27, 2013
Charlotte, N.C. — Saint Augustine’s University showed tremendous heart and courage in a 74-68 women’s basketball loss to Elizabeth City State University in the CIAA Tournament quarterfinals at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.
The Lady Falcons nearly rallied from a 1-point deficit against one of the top teams in the CIAA. They pulled within three points but the inside play of the Lady Vikings was just enough to send them to Friday’s semifinals.
Jeanne-Marie Wilson (Fr./Temple Hills, Md.) led the Lady Falcons with 12 points. CIAA Rookie of the Year Regime McCombs (Fr./Greenville, S.C.) and Lakiya Rouse added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Though they were outsized, the smaller but quick Lady Falcons never backed down.
“They fought, showed heart and a level of pride,” St. Aug Head Coach Rachel Bullard said. “I don’t know if I’ve had that [in a season] during my tenure.”
The Lady Falcons trailed 51-37 but trimmed the deficit to 53-50 on two free throws by Wilson with 9:34 left in the game. ECSU increased its lead to nine points at 64-55 with 5:27 left and the closest the Lady Falcons would get was 72-68 on a layup by Terri Jacobs (Fr./McDonough, Ga.) with 26 seconds left.
Stephanie Harper produced a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Vikings. She was part of a massive frontline which won the rebounding battle 48-37 and scored 42 points in the paint. Shawnte Taylor added 14 points and DaShera Boone scored 10 points.
Coach Bullard was extremely proud of her team despite the loss which ended the season at 12-15. At one point, the Lady Falcons had a lineup of underclassmen on the floor. Their roster includes five freshmen and three sophomores on a 12-player roster.
“We had four freshmen on the floor at one time and they didn’t back down,” Bullard said.
Coming off a first-round victory over Chowan, the Lady Falcons were brimming with confidence entering their quarterfinal game against the Lady Vikings. And it showed early as the Lady Falcons were energetic from the outset.
The contest started off fast and furious, which favored the smaller Lady Falcons. They got out in transition which helped them against the Lady Vikings. After the score was tied several times, the Lady Falcons took the lead on a layup by Briana Arrington (So./Richmond, Va.) off Walton’s assist. Jasmine Cuffee (So./Norfolk, Va.) then scored a layup to give the Lady Falcons a 21-17 lead.
Once the pace slowed down, the Lady Vikings began to assert themselves. Scoring on putbacks and layups, the Lady Vikings surged ahead 29-22 late in the first half. Tahsha Mitchell (Jr./South Holland, Ill.) hit a shot from the corner to cut deficit to 31-26, but the Lady Vikings took a 36-28 lead into halftime.
Rouse led the Lady Falcons with eight points and Wilson added six points in the first half. Harper scored eight points and Boone added six points for the Lady Vikings (24-3).
The Lady Vikings began the second half the same way they ended the first half. They went inside to open a 14-point lead in the first few minutes. The Lady Falcons came back behind Wilson, who scored five straight points, including a three-pointer, to pull her team within three with fewer than nine minutes left.
The future is bright for the Lady Falcons, who return nearly every player including McCombs, Walton, Wilson and Terry Jacobs, who all made the All-CIAA rookie team. They will miss seniors Autumn Smith-Faulkner (Charlotte, N.C.) and Temperance Jacobs (McDonough, Ga.). Smith-Faulkner was the Food Lion MVP against Chowan on Tuesday in the first round after scoring a career high 21 points. Temperance Jacobs was a top rebounder who missed the remaining six games with a knee injury.
“I appreciate all my teammates,” Smith-Faulkner said afterward. “Nobody gave up.”