BALTIMORE, MD – Whatever fourth-seeded Bowie State did to knock off fifth-seed Elizabeth City State twice during the regular season didn’t work Thursday at the women’s CIAA Tournament here.
Employing a stifling woman-to-woman defense and exploiting a decided height advantage, the Lady Vikings (18-10) jumped up early on the Lady Bulldogs (14-12). They built a 21-12 first-quarter lead and were never headed in rolling to a 76-54 quarterfinal win.
After 55-44 and 61-51 losses to BSU in the regular season, the victory puts ECSU in Friday’s 2 p.m. semifinal vs. eighth seeded Johnson C. Smith. ECSU lost to Lincoln in last year’s tournament championship game.
Blango sets the pace
Five-seven junior guard Nyasia Blango set the pace for ECSU. She scored 13 first half points including three baskets from 3-point range as the Lady Vikings built a 38-27 halftime lead. ECSU scored the first 11 points of the second half to push the margin beyond 20 points, at 49-27 with 6:51 left in the third quarter.
Blanco drained another 3-pointer from way downtown at the 1:31 mark of the third quarter. She then punctuated the period with a buzzer-beating jumper. ECSU entered the final period up 58-34.
BSU (14-12) cut the lead below 18, at 64-48, with 4:59 left, but could get no closer.
Blanco finished with a game-high 30 points. She was the only ECSU player to score in double digits. Five-nine junior forward Akyia King had 10 rebounds in leading ECSU to a decided 39-25 edge off the boards.
Junior guard Seanice Lyons had 17 points to lead BSU. Anii Harris added 12.