CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Saint Augustine’s University gave an inspired effort in a 61-49 women’s basketball loss to Lincoln (Pa.) University in a CIAA Tournament first-round game at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.
Guard Shanika Harris (Sr./Richmond, VA) scored a season-high 20 points in her final collegiate game, guard Sycoya Dorsey (Jr./Richmond, VA) added 12 points and eight rebounds and center Shakeisha Washington (Jr./Atlanta, GA) had seven points and seven rebounds for the Lady Falcons, who battled to the end before being eliminated from the tournament.
Led by nine first-half points from Harris and seven points from Dorsey, the Lady Falcons, seeded sixth in the Southern Division, only trailed 28-22 at halftime to the Lady Lions, the No. 3 Northern Division seed. They pulled within 32-29 on a free throw by Washington with 7:19 in the third quarter, but the Lady Lions stretched their lead to double digits by the end of the quarter.
The Lady Falcons fell behind by 17 points two minutes into the fourth quarter, but they never quit. With 3:19 remaining, the deficit was chopped to 10 points on two Harris free throws. The Lady Falcons recorded a steal after Harris’ second free throw, but missed two free throws which would have trimmed the margin even more.
“They fought hard,” Lady Falcons’ Interim Head Coach Jarita Crump said.
Ultimately, their competitiveness wasn’t enough to overcome shooting and rebounding woes. The Lady Falcons shot 25 percent for the contest and were outrebounded 56-42 including 25-16 on the offensive glass.
The Lady Lions shot a tad better at 34.4 percent, but made up for cold shooting with 18 second-chance points in addition to 17 points off Lady Falcons’ turnovers. Guard Amani Clark had 16 rebounds to go with 17 points and Teira Pendleton grabbed 13 rebounds for the Lady Lions (14-11 overall), who will face Southern Division No. 2 seed Livingstone College in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
The Lady Falcons (3-24 overall), who will lose seniors Harris, LaKiya Rouse (Guard/Greensboro, N.C.) and Shelby Stokes (Guard/Cleveland, OH) to graduation, endured a tough season. Coach Crump, a Lady Falcons’ assistant the previous three seasons, was elevated to interim head coach one month before the season began. She inherited a squad missing several key players who were expected back this season.
The Lady Falcons also battled injuries to their top players including Harris, who missed the first 11 games. They gradually improved, however, especially late in the season.
Despite the lack of wins, the Lady Falcons came to play every contest, and that is a testament to Coach Crump, according to Harris.
“Coach Crump is really the rock to this team,” Harris said. “She always picked us up whether we were down [on ourselves] or battling injuries. She always encouraged us to keep going no matter who the opponent was, its record or how much height the team had.”
See the post game press conference here: