JCSU tops Glenville State
Edinboro, Pa. – Johnson C. Smith made school history with a 74-69 victory against Glenville State College (No. 7 seed) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional tournament hosted by Edinboro University on Friday afternoon.
JCSU improved to 25-4 overall and earned its first regional win in the history of the women's program. The Lady Golden Bulls advance to the semifinals to face West Liberty State College in McComb Field house at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Entering this regional tournament with the highest seeding in JCSU history, the Lady Golden Bulls looked and played like a No. 2 seed. Glenville State continued a five-man substitution pattern, but Johnson C. Smith moved up the court with more energy and quickness. Despite eight lead changes in the opening, J.C. Smith maintained control and led 46-36 at halftime.
In first half, the Lady Golden Bulls shot 41.5 percent (17-41) from the floor compared to 33 percent (13-39) from Glenville State. The Pioneers lost the rebounding battle 34-20 and were beat 28-16 inside the paint. JCSU also shot 64.7 percent (11-17) from the free-throw line; however Glenville converted on all six of their first half free-throw attempts.
CIAA superlative selections LaQwesha Gamble and Racquel Davis had early production to help get J.C. Smith off to a good start. All-Rookie freshman Davis had a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds at the break. All-CIAA junior Gamble contributed with 10 points, seven boards and four steals at the break.
Beth Deren and Kim Stephens anchored the Glenville scoring with nine and eight points, respectively.
After pushing their advantage to 13 (53-40) 5 minutes into the second half, the Pioneers made a run to close the gap. JCSU was outscored 12-2 throughout the next minutes to bring the contest within one possession (55-52) with 10:23 remaining.
After a back and forth struggle, Glenville State moved ahead with layup from LaToya Hambrick at the 4:11 mark. A made free throw from junior guard Shavonda Price tied the game. With the score knotted up 66-66, senior guard Shontanette Shaw made a key steal and converted on a fast break layup for a 68-66 JCSU lead.
On an inbound play, senior center Brittane Neely nailed a 16-foot jumper just as the buzzer sounded on the shot clock. Glenville drew within one after a traditional three-point play from Tenisha Wilson. With the layup and free throw, the Pioneers trailed 70-69 with 44 seconds left to play.
Johnson C. Smith sealed the victory with sound free-throw shooting from senior guards Shakeena Cunningham and Tyra Breaux. Both went 2-for-2 at the free throw in the final seconds and JCSU advanced.
Gamble and Davis each produced double-doubles, scoring 17 points apiece. Gamble added 16 rebounds and four steals, while Davis grabbed 12 boards of her own.
Deren had a team-high 12 points for Glenville, followed by three others with double-digit point totals.
“No team gets to this level if they aren't a good team, so we feel privileged to be able to represent our University and conference in a winning matter,” JCSU head coach and reigning CIAA Coach of the Year Vanessa Taylor said. “We were used to the pace of the game, because every night in the CIAA you face strong guard play. They were certainly tough competition and it feels good to achieve this first regional victory.”