February 28, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Amber Calvin (Fayetteville, NC) scored 19 points to lead Fayetteville State University to its second straight CIAA Tournament championship game with a 64-57 women's basketball semifinal victory over Virginia Union University at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday, February 28, 2014.
The Lady Broncos (21-6) will play Shaw University in the finals on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Southern Division champions, the Lady Broncos are shooting for their fourth CIAA title and first since 2010.
Akysia Resper (Concord, NC) added 14 points and Je'Lena Robertson (Houston, TX) chipped in 12 points for the Lady Broncos, who made 16-of-19 free throws for 84 percent. They knocked down 6-of-6 free throws in the final minute to hold off the pesky Lady Panthers, who struggled at the free throw line. The No. 3 Northern Division seed, the Lady Panthers were 13-of-31 from the charity stripe for 42 percent.
"In close games, it is going to come down to rebounding and free throws," Fayetteville State Head Coach Eva Patterson-Heath said. "Fortunately, we hit our free throws."
The quintet of Robertson, Calvin, Resper, Deja Middleton and Bria Robinson combined to make 16-of-16 free throws with Robertson hitting 6-of-6. Her two free throws with four seconds left iced the game for the Lady Broncos.
Missed free throws prevented the Lady Panthers from catching the Lady Broncos. Down 58-49 with 4:03 left, the Lady Panthers were 2-for-10 down the stretch. Despite the missed free throws, the Lady Panthers still had a shot with Melyse Brown drilled a three-pointer from the corner to pull within 60-57 with 35.4 seconds remaining. The Lady Broncos sealed the win on two free throws apiece by Middleton and Robertson in the final 17.6 seconds.
"Free throws were the issue today," Virginia Union Head Coach Barvenia Wooten-Cherry said. "We missed a lot of free throws."
Brown paced the Lady Panthers (11-16 overall) with 16 points. The trio of Ashle Freeman, Lady Walker and Jasmin Dancy each scored 11 points. Walker pulled down 13 rebounds for a double-double and Freeman had four assists and four steals. She set the school record for steals in the contest.
Trailing by two at halftime, the Lady Panthers jumped out to a 37-31 lead in the second half. The Lady Broncos gained momentum with a 19-3 run to go up 50-40. Calvin scored eight points and Resper added seven points during the spurt including a three-pointer for a 40-39 Lady Broncos lead.
The Lady Panthers stayed in striking distance by controlling the boards. They outrebounded the Lady Broncos 47-30 overall which led to a 34-26 scoring advantage in the paint and a 13-4 edge in second-chance points in the game. The free-throw shooting accuracy of the Lady Broncos prevented the Lady Panthers from making a comeback.
Calvin scored seven points and Robertson had six in the first half for the Lady Broncos, who were in front 25-23 in the first half. Walker had nine points and nine rebounds for the Lady Panthers.
Led by six points from Walker and five from Brown, the Lady Panthers led 17-15 in the first 10 minutes.
The Lady Broncos kept pace behind the shooting of Calvin, who had seven points.
The Lady Broncos led 22-20 on a jumper by Robertson, but Walker scored on a layup to tie the game.
Resper hit a three for a 25-22 Lady Broncos' lead. A free throw by Walker pulled the Lady Panthers within two at 25-23 at halftime.