Feb. 20, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - It wasn't easy, even when it looked like it would be.
But the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos took a potentially devastating blow from the Livingstone Lady Blue Bears and shook it off, using a late 9-2 run to put the finishing touches on a 78-71 victory on Monday night at Felton J. Capel Arena.
Up by 19 points early in the second half, the Fayetteville State Lady Broncos (12-13, 6-9, 4-5) were cruising.
But the Livingstone Lady Blue Bears (8-16, 4-10, 3-6) weren't going to allow the Lady Broncos an easy win in their home finale, and used a 25-8 run to trim the deficit to one, eventually taking the lead, 54-53, with 6:55 remaining in the game. It was Livingstone's first lead since 1-0 with 18:10 to go in the first half.
The two teams traded the lead five more tiems and tied seven times before the end, but senior Tashama Banner, in her final game at Capel Arena, scored five straight points to fuel the decisive run, which was capped by a Bria Robinson (Fr., Belmont, N.C.) layup for a 76-67 lead with 23.6 seconds left.
Banner led Fayetteville State with 15 points to go with five rebounds and three assists while DaQuondra Cuthbertson (Jr., Spencer, N.C.) added 15 points and nine rebounds. Robinson had 12 points and five boards while Akysia Resper (So., Concord, N.C.) added 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Montiya Harrison, who gave the Lady Blue Bears their second - and most improbable - lead with a foul shot, led all players with 19 points. Jasmine Murray added 12 points while Tiffany Evans had 11.
Fayetteville State got off to a hot start, getting seven points from Resper to build a 20-8 advantage with 11:25 to go in the first half.
Livingstone managed to come right back and make it a game, though, getting three 3-pointers in succession from Tiffany Evans for a 9-2 run. That enabled the Lady Blue Bears to creep within five, 22-17, with 7:04 to go in the half.
But the Lady Broncos roared back, getting four points each from Resper and Je'Lena Robertson (So., Houston, Texas) to spark a 9-0 run to close the first half, giving Fayetteville State its largest lead to that point, 38-24, entering the break.
Fayetteville State continued to pour on the pressure from there, extending the run to 14-0 for a 43-24 lead with 17:22 to go. But the Lady Broncos were held without a field goal for the next 6 minutes as Livingstone used that stretch to rip off a 15-4 spurt to get back into the game by the midway point of the half.
Following the game, Fayetteville State, which finishes its season with a winning record at home (6-5) honored its seniors, Banner and SheQuitia Manning (Capital Heights, Md.)
The Lady Broncos close their season at Winston-Salem State on Saturday.