Virginia Union Lady Panthers Capture 4th CIAA Crown with a 73-57 Victory Over Bowie State


The tournament's Most Valuable Player Alexis Johnson recorded 21 points (5-of-14) and 18 rebounds to lead the No. 1 Northern Division seed Virginia Union University Panthers pass the No.3 seed Bowie State University Bulldogs,73-57 to capture their fourth Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championship, Saturday afternoon in the Spectrum Center. 

VUU's Jasmine Carter recorded the opening four points on lay-ups, followed by a three off the finger-tips of Rachael Pecota within the first 1:45 to give the Lady Panthers a quick 7-0 lead. The Bulldogs added recorded three of their first points at the 4:43 mark off a lay-up and an-one from Kyah Proctor, making it a 7-3 contest. 

Although VUU closed out the quarter leading 20-6, Bowie State continued to fight. Virginia Union finished the quarter shooting 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from the field, 66.7 percent (2-of-3) from downtown, and 80 percent from the foul line; while holding the Bulldogs to only 11.8 percent (2-of-17) from the floor and 66.7 percent (2-of-3) from the charity stripe.

The Lady Panthers sustained their intensity throughout the second quarter, taking a 32-16 lead into the locker room, but the Bulldogs kept their poise.

Kyah Proctor and Kiara Colston added a boost for Bowie State, recording 10 of the Bulldogs' 16 points in the second quarter. BSU closed out the half, shooting 18.2 percent (6-of-33) from the floor and 80 percent (4-of-5) from the foul line, while holding the Lady Panthers to 30.8 percent (4-of-13) shooting from the field, 20 percent (1-of-5) from behind the arc, and 100 percent (3-of-3) from the free throw line for the quarter and 50 percent (11-of-22) from the floor, 37.5 percent (3-of-8) behind the three-point line, and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) from the line.

Bowie State tried scraping their way back in it during the third quarter, shooting 40 percent (8-of-20) from the floor, 50 percent (2-of-4) from downtown, and 100 percent (3-of-3) from the foul line. The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers 21-17 for the quarter and (7-4) points off turnovers. Both teams tallied 10 points each in the paint and four fast break points, respectfully. The Lady Panthers took their largest lead of the game of 25 (45-20) with 4:21 left on the clock. Virginia Union finished the third quarter shooting 50 percent (6-of-12) from the field and 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from the charity stripe.

Bowie State used a 10-0 run to close their deficit to a dozen points (49-37) following a twisting Proctor layup with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Virginia Union Panthers countered Bowie State's run with a 7-2 run to begin the fourth quarter to push the Lady Panthers lead to 19 (58-39) via a deep triple by Shareka McNeill at the 7:40 mark and strolled to their second CIAA crown in the short three-year AnneMarie Gilbert era.

For the game, Virginia Union shot 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from the floor, 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from downtown, and 84.4 percent (27-of-32) from the candy stripe; while the Bulldogs shot 29 percent (20-of-69) from the field, 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from behind the arc, and 71.4 percent from the line.

VUU's Rachael Pecota led all scorers with 28 points on (9-of-17) shooting and added 10 boards in the win. Tournament MVP Alexis Johnson notched her 10th double-double of the season, recording 21 points and 18 rebounds off the bench.

Kyah Proctor led Bowie State with 22 points while Kiara Colston chipped in 13 points. Kyaja Williams contributed nine points to go along with a team-high six rebounds off the Bulldogs' bench.

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