Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TSU Lady Tigers begin OVC quest with Eastern Kentucky

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team will face Eastern Kentucky in the opening round of the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium.

The Lady Tigers enter the tournament as the seventh seed and will face the sixth seeded Colonels in the second game of Wednesday's daytime doubleheader.

The first rounds and quarterfinals will be available on OVCSports.TV for free. The semifinals and final will be broadcast on ESPN 3, ESPN Full Court and select stations in OVC markets. Among the select stations are WEIU, WLJT-DT and WCTE.

TSU dropped both contests against EKU this season, falling to the Colonels, 79-59, on the road before suffering a disappointing, 73-66, loss in the Gentry Center.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Tayla Foster led TSU with 21 points while Destiney Gaston finished with 13. Alana Morris grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.

TSU shot 30.6 percent (22-of-72) from the field, including 20.8 percent (5-of-24) from three-point range while knocking down 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the free-throw line. EKU shot 50.8 percent (30-of- 59) from the field, 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from long range and 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the charity stripe.

In the second match-up of the season, Tennessee State was led in scoring by Kim Haynes' 19 points while Simone Hopes added 16. Rachel Allen (12) and Chelsea Hudson (10) also recorded double figures as TSU's leading scorer Jasmin Shuler was held to only three points.

Although Tennessee State only committed 10 turnovers, the Lady Tigers seemed out of sync the entire game. TSU shot 32.1 percent (25-of-78) from the field and 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from three-point range.

Eastern Kentucky knocked down 43.1 percent (25-of-58) of its shots, including 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from long range.

This season, TSU averaged 62.5 points per game vs. Eastern Kentucky while shooting 31.3 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from long range. Tayla Foster led the Lady Tigers in scoring with an average of 10.5 ppg while TSU's leading scorer Jasmin Shuler was held to a combined 12 points through both games of the season series.

EKU averaged 76.0 ppg behind a .470 field goal percentage, including .429 from three-point range. The Colonels also shot 83.3 percent from the charity stripe.

FIRST ROUND - Wednesday, Feb. 29
Game 1 - #5 Morehead State vs. #8 Austin Peay - 12 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
Game 2 - #6 Eastern Kentucky vs. #7 Tennessee State - 2 p.m. (OVCSports.TVWatch Replay of TSU Game at OVCSports.TV

QUARTERFINALS - Thursday, March 1
Game 3 - #4 Murray State vs. Game 1 winner - 12 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)
Game 4 - #3 Tennessee Tech vs. Game 2 winner - 2 p.m. (OVCSports.TV)

SEMIFINALS - Friday, March 2
Game 5 - #1 UT Martin vs. Game 3 winner - 12 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 6 - #2 Eastern Illinois vs. Game 2 winner - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)

CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday, March 3
Game 7 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner - 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3) All Times Central


2011-12 All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Basketball Teams

2011-12 All Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Team
Name School Position Height Class Hometown PPG

Christine Conners SUNO Forward 5-10 Senior Prairieville, La. 9.2
Portia Craft Tougaloo Guard 5-4 Sophomore McComb, Miss. 12.4
Lauren Daniel Dillard Guard 5-7 Senior New Orleans, La. 10.0
Nacori Foreman Fisk Center 5-10 Sophomore Atlanta, Ga. 8.1
SiMon Franklin Xavier Guard 5-7 Junior Baton Rouge, La. 9.8
Jasmine Grant Xavier Guard 5-8 Senior Shreveport, La. 9.4
Keldra Hall Xavier Center 6-0 Senior Dallas, Texas 10.0
Megan Iloff Talladega Guard 5-7 Junior Los Angeles, Calif. 15.4
Caryan Jones Philander Smith Guard 5-4 Freshman Star City, Ark. 15.0
Victoria Jones Tougaloo Forward 5-10 Senior Saginaw, Mich. 15.2
Ariel Mitchell Dillard Guard 5-7 Senior St. James, La. 14.8
Ebony Presha Edward Waters Guard/Forward 5-9 Senior Jacksonville, Fla. 14.7
Ebony Richardson Talladega Guard 5-4 Senior Oakland, Calif. 15.2
Jazzmin Smith Dillard Forward 5-11 Junior Lake Charles, La. 14.8
Kelly Stewart SUNO Guard 5-3 Senior Baton Rouge, La. 14.9
Bianca Thomas Talladega Center 6-3 Junior Forest, Miss. 12.0

Player of the Year: Victoria Jones, Tougaloo College
Newcomer of the Year: Megan Iloff, Talladega College
Freshman of the Year: Caryan Jones, Philander Smith College 
Coach of the Year: Bo Browder, Xavier University of Louisiana

2011-12 All Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Team
Name School Class Position

Ken Brown Philander Smith Senior Guard
Carlton Darling Edward Waters Sophomore Forward
Kadon Day Tougaloo Sophomore Forward/Center
Denzell Erves Xavier Junior Forward
Kerry Harvis Talladega Senior Guard
Chris Iles Xavier Senior Guard
Marquise Mems Tougaloo Senior Guard/Forward
Anthony Simmons Xavier Senior Forward
Devin White SUNO Junior Forward/Center
Horace Whitehead Tougaloo Senior Forward

Player of the Year: Ken Brown, Philander Smith College
Freshman of the Year: Kevin Dukes, Southern University at New Orleans
Newcomer of the Year: Ken Brown, Philander Smith College
Coach of the Year: Dannton Jackson, Xavier University of Louisiana

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

XU's Hall, Franklin, Grant selected to GCAC all-conference team

Keldra Hall
Jasmine Grant
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Keldra Hall, SiMon Franklin and Jasmine Grant were named Tuesday to the 2011-12 All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball team. XU's Bo Browder was a repeat selection as Coach of the Year.

The eight GCAC head coaches chose the 16-player team.

Hall, a 6-foot senior center from Dallas and a graduate of Molina High School and Angelina College, is All-GCAC for the second straight season. She averaged 10 points and shot 51.2 percent from the floor and blocked 18 shots, all team bests, in 30 regular-season games. She averaged 6.3 rebounds.

Franklin, a 5-7 junior guard from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of St. Joseph's Academy, averaged 9.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals and shot 45.6 percent from the floor in 30 games.

SiMon Franklin

Coach Bo Browder

 Grant, a 5-8 senior guard from Shreveport, La., and a graduate of Southwood High School, averaged 9.4 points and 2.2 assists in 30 games and made 66 3-pointers. She overcame a knee injury which sidelined her the final 26 games this past season to rank 15th in NAIA Division I in 3-pointers made and among the top 50 in 3-pointers made per game, 3-point accuracy and assist/turnover ratio.

Browder, 320-110 in 13 seasons at Xavier, is GCAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season and the fifth time overall. His Gold Nuggets (22-8) won the GCAC regular-season championship by a game over Talladega and have been ranked in the top 25 all season.

Xavier, two-time defending champion of the GCAC Tournament, will play Fisk at 10 a.m. EST Thursday in the quarterfinals at Jacksonville, Fla.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

WSSU women roll past Lincoln

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Now they can start thinking about Johnson C. Smith.

Before the Winston-Salem State women played Lincoln (Pa.) in their CIAA tournament opener, coach Steve Joyner feared that his players would look past that game and anticipate a rematch with the Golden Bulls.

He can put his fear to rest. Courtney Medley scored 17 points, and Winston-Salem State defeated Lincoln 79-57 in the first round Tuesday at Time Warner Arena. Next is Johnson C. Smith in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. today. The Golden Bulls swept the Rams in the regular season.

"We have to take better care of the ball, defend and rebound against them," Joyner said of Johnson C. Smith. "We also have to keep them off the glass."


St. Aug advances in CIAA Tourney on Kindred buzzer-beater

Charlotte, North Carolina — Junior forward Jon Kindred (Raleigh, N.C.) scored the last five points for Saint Augustine's College including the game-winning shot at the horn for a 50-49 victory over Lincoln (Pa.) University Tuesday (Feb. 28) in the nightcap game on the first day of the the CIAA Tournament. The Falcons (14-13), seeded sixth in the Southern Division, advance to the second round Wednesday where they will face Fayetteville State at 9 p.m.

"We live to fight another day," Kindred said.

Kindred caught a pass and buried a jumper at the top of the key with no time remaining. Once the ball swished through the nets, Kindred ran around the court as his teammates chased him in jubilation. Earlier, Kindred drilled a three-pointer with 39 seconds left to tie the score at 48-48. George Jackson of Lincoln hit one of two free throws to give the Lions a 49-48 lead which set the stage for Kindred's heroics

Tyquan Stroman led the Falcons with 16 points. Denzel Mooney scored 12 points and Jackson added 10 for the Lions (11-18), the No. 5 seed in the Northern Division.



Holt lifts Virginia State Over Livingstone to Open CIAA Tournament

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Twice the Livingstone Blue Bears left Brianna Holt alone on the wing in the second half of Tuesday’s opening round CIAA Tournament game.

And twice Holt burned them.

Holt led all players with 19 points, hitting those two pivotal 3-pointers to spark a decisive 17-5 run as Virginia State held off the upset-minded Blue Bears 72-54 to advance to the tournament’s second round at TimeWarner Cable Arena.

Virginia State will play the North’s No. 2 seed, Bowie State, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The Lady Trojans split the regular season meetings with the Lady Bulldogs.

The game was close throughout as both teams struggled to find any consistency with their shooting from the floor. Livingstone (7-22), the Southern Division’s No. 6 seed, finished shooting just 35 percent from the floor while Northern Division third seed Virginia State (17-12) shot just 38 percent.

But Holt was the constant throughout, hitting 7 of 8 from the foul line in the first half to help the Lady Trojans to a 26-21 edge at the break. The two 3s were even more critical, spurring the run not long after the Blue Bears had just ripped off an 11-3 spurt to take a 38-37 lead with 11:56 to go in the game.

Holt answered with a pair of foul shots to give the lead back to Virginia State, then hit 3s on two of the next three possessions to put Virginia State back in front, 46-38, with 10 minutes left. Livingstone never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

“We came out of the huddle and wanted to run our overload play, setting up shooters on the right and the left,” said Virginia State head coach James Hill, who notched his 99th career victory. “We knew we would have an opportunity to get a couple of open looks, and if you don’t shoot it, you’ll never know whether you’ll make it or not.”

Livingstone coach Angelyne Brown said Holt’s two 3s were daggers.

“We tried to switch up defensively and when we did, (the Lady Trojans) were able to kick it back out, and that was the difference,” Brown said. “We had opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize.”

LaMesha Deal added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Trojans while Da’Shae Jones had 14 points.

Kelcyn Manurs led Livingstone with 13 points while Jasmine Murray had 12. Tyesha Tharpe led all players with 13 rebounds.

The first half was a struggle for both teams, with Livingstone shooting just 29 percent from the field. Virginia State wasn’t much better, connecting on just 32 percent of its shot attempts.

That enabled the game to stay close, though the Lady Trojans managed to build their largest lead after Marquilla Evans capped a 9-2 run with 3-pointer for a 25-17 lead with 3:18 to go in the period.

Virginia State’s defense frustrated the Lady Blue Bears, forcing 11 turnovers and holding Livingstone without a field goal for nearly 4 ½ minutes at the end of the half. Still, the Blue Bears remained close, snapping the drought with a three-point play by Sophie Lepzem with 41.2 seconds to go, leading to the halftime score of 26-21.

“I knew having the 11 a.m. game it would be a slow game,” Hill said. “This is the first time for a lot of our girls to have the arena experience, but I think we were able to get the butterflies out of our stomachs by playing this morning.”


Livingstone Blue Bears Roll 67-52 Over Chowan Behind Mark Thomas' Career-High 28 Points

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina  –  Mark “AJ” Thomas scored a career-high 28 points as the Livingstone men's basketball team, after a slow start, cruised to a 67-52 victory over the Chowan University Hawks in the opening round of the 2012 CIAA Tournament hosted at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Livingstone couldn't have imagined a slower start as the Blue Bears went 1-for-13 from the field to start the game and had only two points through the first nine minutes. Luckily for the Blue Bears, Chowan wasn't hitting shots either and Livingstone trailed only 7-2.

Despite the slow start, the Blue Bears responded in a big way, fueled by Mark “AJ” Thomas. Livingstone went on a 19-3 run with Thomas hitting three three-pointers and having 11 total points to take a 21-10 lead with 5:55 left in the first half.

Chowan got back within four points of the Blue Bears with 149 left in the opening half, but Livingstone was able to close the half on a 6-2 run to take a 30-22 lead into the break.

The Hawks came out and knocked down a three-pointer to start the second half, but the Blue Bears responded with a 15-0 run to open a 20-point cushion, 45-25, with 14:39 left in the game. Chowan fought back on an 8-0 run and trailed 45-33 with 10:20 on the clock.

Chowan continued to trail by 12 at 52-40 with 7:19 remaining, but the Blue Bears rattled off seven-straight points to regain a 19-point edge with 5:55 remaining. The Blue Bears were able to maintain a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game to take home the victory.

Mark Thomas scored his 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. Also in double figures was Trone Jackson with 15 points and Greg Henry with 11. Tyler Johnson led the Blue Bears with 11 rebounds

The Blue Bears shot 48 percent for the game including a blistering 59 percent in the second half. Livingstone also connected on 45.5 percent of its three-point attempts and 66.7 percent of its free-throw attempts.

Livingstone will now play Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against the Trojans of Virginia State University in the second round of the 2012 CIAA Tournament.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fayetteville State women lose to Chowan on last-second layup at CIAA Tournament

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - The Fayetteville State women achieved two of the major goals set by Coach Eva Patterson-Heath this season by doubling their win total from a year ago and finishing higher than predicted in the preseason league poll. But the Broncos fell just shy of achieving a third and perhaps most important goal Tuesday.

FSU let a 14-point second-half advantage slip away and gave up a last-second shot that got them ousted in the first round of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament for a second straight year.

Ransheda Jennings got behind the FSU defense to sink a layup with 1.6 seconds left to lift Chowan to a 51-50 triumph at Time Warner Cable Arena. The shot completed a comeback that saw the Hawks, a No. 5 seed from the CIAA's Northern Division, knock off the South Division's No. 4 seeded Broncos.

The Hawks (11-16) will face the Northern Division's top seed, Virginia Union, in the second round today at 1 p.m.


First Lady returning to Charlotte to celebrate CIAA Tournament

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Charlotte Friday to attend several fundraisers and a CIAA pre-game event. The White House announced the First Lady's travels on Tuesday.

She will begin her day trip to the Tarheel State at Raleigh-Durham International Airport where she will meet with members of the U.S. Military. She will then attend a Democratic National Committee event in Raleigh before heading to Charlotte.

The First Lady will join Senator Kay Hagan and North Carolina school children for a Let's Move! on-court event during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament and 100th Anniversary celebration.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Speak on Military Spouse Employment, February 27, 2012.

The CIAA, known as the "Conference of Firsts" is the oldest African-American athletic conference in the nation and consists of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) spanning the east coast from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

Space is limited, and media seeking to cover this program between the 1:00pm and 3:00pm games, should RSVP to Shera White, Director of Communications at by Tuesday, February 28 at 6:00 PM.

Heightened security measures will be in effect in preparation for Mrs. Obama's arrival. Media and Tournament attendees are advised to arrive at 10:30 am on Friday, March 2 if they plan on attending the 1:00 p.m. game; airport security measures are to be expected.


WBB: St. Aug slips past ECSU on fist day of CIAA Tourney

Charlotte, North Carolina — Saint Augustine’s College pulled out another wild CIAA Tournament victory over Elizabeth City State Tuesday (Feb. 28) at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Lady Falcons eked out a 49-46 first-day win to advance to Wednesday’s round. They will face crosstown nemesis Shaw University, the defending CIAA champion, for the third time this season. Game time is 3 p.m.

“We went into the [ECSU] game knowing we had to fight and battle,” St. Aug head coach Rachel Bullard said. “We have been doing that all season. I am excited for our kids.”

For the second straight year, the Lady Falcons (14-13 overall), seeded fifth in the Southern Division, went down-to-the-wire with the Lady Vikings (13-14), the No. 4 seed from the Northern Division. Last season, the Lady Falcons rallied from a 13-point tournament deficit in the second half to win by two points.

Photo Gallery: CIAA tournament Tuesday 02.28.12

2012 CIAA basketball tournament schedule |


NCA&T Head Coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs Wins Her 500th Game

SAVANNAH, Georgia - North Carolina A&T women's basketball head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs became the 51st head coach to join the all-time NCAA Division I 500 win club on Monday, as the Aggies defeated Savannah State by a 88-74 final at Tiger Arena. She ranks 27th on the active Division I wins list with 500.

Bibbs' career record is 500-292. As the seconds ticked down on the clock, one thought was going through Bibbs' head.

"Oh my goodness, it's over, we got it. My girls did it, my ladies did it. They did what they said they were going to do," she said.

To get to 500 has meant a lot of hard work for Bibbs over her 27 years as a head coach at a Division I historically black university.

"Well it means that it's been trials, it's been tribulation, it's been hardships, but it's been more good than bad. A lot of times when you're a coach, especially when you're a young coach, you don't think about that. In my younger years of coaching, I never thought about that," Bibbs said. "Then it was 100, then 200, then 300, then 400. I never really thought about 500. I want to thank (SID) Brian Holloway because he always is very good with numbers, and statistics and history. He was the one that really brought it to my attention that I was right there."

Bibbs is now the first head coach to win all 500 games as the head coach of a Division I HBCU program, and she will be the second MEAC coach to join the 500 club, after Norfolk State's James Sweat. Bibbs became the 38th active head women's basketball coach to capture 400 career wins during the 2007-08 season. She won No. 400 on Nov. 23, 2007 with an 88-62 victory over UNC Asheville in her third season with the Aggies.

"I mean for me to remain at an HBCU and do the things, it was always about my players. I wanted to stay at an HBCU for things like this to give kids an opportunity to feel the passion and the history-they're a part of it," Bibbs said.

Redshirt sophomore Amber Calvin secured the win for the Aggies, posting a career-high 33 points along with three rebounds and three assists to put her at 102 for the season. It marked the eighth time in program history that a player has posted 100 or more assists in a season. She went 13-for-13 from the free throw line, and had four 3-pointers in the contest.

"Amber Calvin is awesome. She's court saavy. She has that fight, she's awesome," Bibbs said. "She rallied her troops, she did. I'm so proud."

An and-one by Calvin tied the game up at 59-59 with 12:31 left in the game. After Jasmine Kirkland hit a free throw, Calvin hit a jumper just inside the arc to give A&T a 61-60 lead with 12:10 on the clock. The Tigers regained the upper hand with a one-point advantage as Ezinne Kalu scored on a layup.

But the Aggies were not finished.

The Aggies then went on a 13-0 run to recapture the lead. Calvin gave the Aggies the lead with a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 64-62 with 10:51. Nikia Gorham put in the layup off a Calvin pass to put A&T up by four. Freshman guard Adriana Nazario hit a pair of free throws and Jessica Lyons hit a jumper to extend the lead to eight. A layup by Berry followed by a jumper by DeAndra Davis made it a 74-62 game for the Aggies with seven minutes to play. From there, the Aggies stayed in control.

It was a very fast and furious first half as both teams raced up and down the court exchanging blows. The Tigers and Aggies exchanged the lead eight times and the score was tied nine times in the opening 20 minutes of play. The Tigers led 50-44 at the half. It was all the more impressive that the Aggies were behind by just six because the Tigers shot 71 percent from the floor.

"Wow, I mean we said that we've never had people score 50 points on us in the first half, and I think our defense just wasn't clicking. Then we said, 'Hey guys, we know what you did on Saturday night. You've got to bring that energy, bring that passion and you've just got to go back out there and play your game. Let's get back to what we were doing, let's get back to how we were doing it. Let's get back to execution and they just did it. They did it. I'm so happy," Bibbs said.

The Aggies return home to take on Norfolk State at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 in their regular season finale. The Aggies will celebrate their homecoming from their final roadtrip on Thursday with a ceremony honoring Bibbs and her achievement.


SWAC champion Delta Devils tame Tigers with 3-point clinic

JACKSON, Mississippi  -  Half of the players seated on the Mississippi Valley State bench leaped to their feet. All of them held up the same amount of fingers on each hand. Not one - the usual and something you'd expect from a team that has already claimed a conference championship. No, they held up three fingers.

The Delta Devils hit 14 3s - Kevin Burwell alone had seven during a career-high day - and this hot-rolling team from the Delta continued its winning ways, beating Jackson State 78-69 on Monday night in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPNU.

"I did that in high school," Burwell said afterward. "It was just one of those days." Winner of 17 straight, Mississippi Valley (18-11, 17-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) moved a step closer to accomplishing a first in this league.

No team has gone 18-0 in the regular season.


Savannah State Tigers claim share of MEAC title

SAVANNAH, Georgia - It’s never been more fun to be a fan of Savannah State men’s basketball. The Tigers won again Monday night and gave their fist-pumping, key-shaking faithful of 2,490 in Tiger Arena at least a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season title.

SSU defeated North Carolina A&T, 62-50, for its 12th straight victory — a school best since the records began being kept 31 years ago. The Tigers (20-10, 13-2 MEAC) can claim the conference title outright and earn a bid to a national tournament by defeating Maryland Eastern Shore on the road Thursday.

“It’s funny, you look forward to this day happening, and then it happens before you know it,” SSU coach Horace Broadnax said. “I’m happy for the players and alumni who endured (the tough times) and understood what basketball is all about.”

Broadnax’s first team went 2-28 — a part of a disappointing six-year stretch from 2000-2006 when the Tigers combined for a 15-151 mark.


XU' Erves earns a pair of player-of-the-week awards


NEW ORLEANS -- Xavier University of Louisiana's Denzell Erves received a pair of honors Monday. He was chosen Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week in men's basketball, and he shared Louisiana Player of the Week with two others.

Erves, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from Vicksburg, Miss., and a graduate of Vicksburg High School, averaged 17 points, 9.5 rebounds and shot 56.5 percent from the floor to help the Gold Rush (22-7) close the regular season with GCAC road victories against Fisk and Dillard. Against Fisk he had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season -- the most by an XU player since the start of 2003-04 -- and he had 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks to help the Rush complete a regular-season sweep of its longtime city rival. He helped Xavier score back-to-back 20-point victories in conference for the first time since January 1996.

Erves tied for the Louisiana award, which is chosen by a Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel, with Trevor Gaskins of Louisiana Tech and Ricky Tarrant of Tulane.

It's the third time this season that Erves won the GCAC award. Teammate Anthony Simmons has won twice this season, and Cordell Hadnot and Nick Haywood did it once each.

In 29 games this season, Erves is averaging 9.4 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds. He has started 28 times and leads Xavier with 29 blocked shots.

Xavier will play Fisk at 4 p.m. EST Thursday in the quarterfinals of the GCAC Tournament at Jacksonville, Fla.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Grice helps FAMU Rattlers women's basketball team earn 20th victory

TALLAHASSEE, Florida - Just before game time Monday night, Florida A&M senior women's basketball player Antonia Bennett had a sit-down with sophomore Jasmine Grice. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes.

"I was telling her she's got to shoot the ball and be confident when she shoots it," Bennett said. "I just felt like I had to talk with her."

Grice later admitted she was so inspired by the talk and that's why she went out and scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Rattlers to an 81-64 victory over Norfolk State at the Lawson Center.

FAMU needed the spark Grice provided, especially after an uninspired first half that ended with the Spartans leading 32-29. The story changed in the second half, though, and 10 minutes in it was clear FAMU wouldn't be denied its first 20-win season in 15 years.

FAMU (20-7, 12-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) was denied a chance for its 20th win Saturday night when it lost to Hampton. With that loss went first place in the MEAC as well.


Shaw seeks sweet sweep

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- The Shaw men's and women's basketball teams enter this week's CIAA tournament as favorites to win back-to-back championships.

The men's team closed out the regular season with a two-point victory over St. Augustine's last Thursday and carry a 20-game winning streak into their first game. As the No. 1 seed in the Southern Division bracket, the Bears received an opening-round bye and will play 9 p.m. Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.

The Shaw women's team also closed out the season with a victory over St. Augustine's and earned the top seed in the Southern Division. The No. 1 seeded Bears face today's winner between No. 4 Elizabeth City State and No. 5 St. Augustine's College on Wednesday. They have a chance to repeat as champions for the first time since winning four straight league tournament championships from 2002 to 2006.

"We've got to stay sharp," Shaw women's coach Jacques Curtis said. "We're playing well now. Besides us, the three best teams are Johnson C. Smith, Winston-Salem State and St. Aug's. All the top teams on our side. We beat Winston by 30. We beat Smith by 33. And (Thursday) we beat St. Aug's by 40-something. We have to stay sharp."


Tuskegee Men, Fort Valley State Women Lead SIAC Tournament Brackets

ATLANTA, Georgia  -  Tuskegee, winner of the regular season SIAC men's hoops title, will join Fort Valley State Lady Wildcats as the top seeds of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

The tournament for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II playoffs kicks off Tuesday at Frank L. Forbes Arena on the campus of Morehouse.

Tuskegee won the men's title with a 16-8 mark (16-10 overall). FVSU was 18-4 in conference (20-6 for the season).

Men's Bracket
Game 1: Claflin vs. Lane, 2 p.m.
Game 2: Fort Valley State vs. Miles, 8 p.m.


Xavier's Taylor is first GCAC Player of the Week for 2012

NEW ORLEANS -- Zach Taylor, who delivered in doubles and singles for Xavier University of Louisiana in a comeback victory against William Carey on Saturday, is the first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week of the men's tennis season.

Taylor, a senior from Monroe, La., and a graduate of St. Frederick High School and Ventura College, teamed with Loic Didavi for an 8-5 No. 1 doubles victory against the Crusaders' Jody Claassen and Thomas Rizk.

Taylor's 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles against 31st-rated Ricky Keppeler tied the dual at 4. Xavier, ranked ninth in the NAIA, rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat 13th-ranked William Carey 5-4.

Taylor was 4-0 in singles and 4-0 in doubles in February. He and Didavi were third -- Xavier's highest NAIA position ever -- in the ITA's preseason doubles rankings. Taylor was a three-time GCAC Player of the Week in 2011. Xavier (4-1) will play NAIA No. 10 Shorter at 2 p.m. next Monday at City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Delaware State Hornets suffer technical defeat

DOVER, Delaware -- Just when it appeared that Delaware State's men's basketball team had pulled out yet another thrilling victory Monday night, the referees pulled the plug on the celebration.

Tahj Tate appeared to have secured the victory with a follow-up slam dunk with 1.1 seconds to play, but a technical foul was called as fans stormed the court at DSU's Memorial Hall, causing a delay of game.

Morgan State's Aric Brooks then sank both free throws and the Bears were rewarded with a stunning 73-72 win in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game, ending the Hornets' record 10-game MEAC winning streak.

Delaware State's players and coaches were shocked that the win was pulled out from under them. "I feel like we was cheated," Tate said. "They said the tech was for our bench for rushing the floor, but I didn't see it."


WSSU women putting emphasis on defense

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - For the Winston-Salem State women to win the school's first CIAA tournament title in basketball, solid defense will be critical.

That's the message coach Steve Joyner Jr. has been preaching. WSSU, 17-9 and seeded No. 3 out of the Southern Division, will play Lincoln (7-21) in its tournament opener at 5 p.m. today at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.

The Rams easily defeated the Lions 94-44 on Jan. 16 at the Gaines Center, but the danger will be in not looking too far ahead, to a possible quarterfinal Wednesday against Johnson C. Smith.

Guard Taylar Wells said the key for the Rams is no secret. "Coach doesn't ever worry about offense because we can score, so he's always stressing about our defense," Wells said. WSSU is No. 2 in the CIAA in scoring average (71.3 ppg) behind Shaw (74.8 ppg).


Scores That Matters!!

February 27, 2012


Arkansas Pine Bluff 68, Grambling State 53
Mississippi Valley State 78, Jackson State 69
Prairie View A&M 62, Alabama State 59
Texas Southern 69, Alabama A&M 59

Bethune-Cookman 74, Hampton 64
Coppin State 64, Maryland Eastern Shore 60
Morgan State 73, Delaware State 72
Norfolk State 79, Florida A&M 70
North Carolina Central 71, South Carolina State 57
Savannah State 62, North Carolina A&T 50

Texas Wesleyan 74, Huston-Tillotson TX 65
Our Lady of the Lake TX 112, Jarvis Christian TX 95
LSU Shreveport 74, Texas College 50


Alabama A&M 55, Texas Southern 40
Grambling State 84, Arkansas Pine Bluff 56
Mississippi Valley State 72, Jackson State 62 (2OT)
Prairie View A&M 52, Alabama State 44

Coppin State 48, Maryland Eastern Shore 47
Delaware State 67, Morgan State 60
Florida A&M 81, Norfolk State 64
Hampton 54, Bethune-Cookman 30
North Carolina A&T 88, Savannah State 74
South Carolina State 68, North Carolina Central 57

Southern-New Orleans 84, New Orleans 56

Our Lady of the Lake TX 88, Jarvis Christian 82
Texas Wesleyan 58, Huston-Tillotson TX 54
LSU Shreveport 82, Texas College 52

Shepherd 72, Bluefield State 40
Davis & Elkins 66, West Virginia State 64

Gold Rush surge to 18th, Nuggets fall to 20th in NAIA polls

NEW ORLEANS -- The men outrank the women for the first time this season.

The Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball team climbed seven spots to 18th Monday in the NAIA Division I coaches poll. It's the biggest upward move for the Gold Rush (22-7) since December 2010.

The Gold Nuggets (22-8) fell one spot to 20th in the women's poll but extended their streak of top-25 appearances to 29.

The Gold Rush won at Fisk and Dillard to earn a share of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season championship with Tougaloo, which dropped from 17th to 24th in the poll. The XU men matched their highest rank this season.

The XU women also won at Fisk and Dillard to win the GCAC regular-season title by a game over Talladega, which was among others receiving votes for the third straight week.

XAVIER Gold Rush last game at "The Barn" vs. Tougaloo Bulldogs

Oklahoma Baptist is the top-ranked men's team for the second straight week, and Oklahoma City's women are No. 1 for the fifth consecutive time.

Xavier is one of nine schools with men's and women's teams in the top 25. The other schools are Azusa Pacific, Columbia (Mo.), Georgetown (Ky.), Lee (Tenn.), MidAmerica Nazarene, Rogers State, Shorter and Southern Nazarene. A week ago there were 10 such schools, and two weeks there were 11.

Both Xavier teams will play Fisk on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the GCAC tournaments at Jacksonville, Fla. The Nuggets will play at 10 a.m. EST, and the Rush will play at 4 p.m.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

District of Columbia, Others Prepare for D-II Tournaments

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Most of the historically black institutions in NCAA Division II will face off in either the SIAC or the CIAA tournaments. As such, they will, undoubtedly, receive most of the attention. However, there are several HBCU's vying for automatic playoff bids but in predominantly white conferences. Their battles also start this week.

Tops among them are the men's and women's basketball teams at the University of District of Columbia. Ranked nationally up until last week, the Firebirds (22-4, 13-3 ECC Men's; 21-5, 12-4 ECC Women's), figure to be the top seeds at the East Coast Conference tournaments at Queens College later this week. Both will receive byes in the quarterfinals and will play in the ECC semifinals on Saturday.

Other HBCU's in action this week will be men's and women's teams from West Virginia State and Bluefield State (West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic) and Central State (Independents). Also, the women of Lincoln (Mo.) will face off in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic tournament.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Both XU teams will open with Fisk in GCAC tournaments

NEW ORLEANS — It will be a double-dose of Xavier University of Louisiana vs. Fisk in Thursday's opening round of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference basketball tournaments at Jacksonville, Fla.

XU's women, 22-8 and seeded first in their bracket, will play eighth-seeded Fisk (4-24) at 10 a.m. EST. XU's men — 22-7 and seeded second after losing a Sunday coin flip with Tougaloo for the top seed — will play seventh-seeded Fisk (6-22) at 4 p.m. EST.

Both games will be played at Edward Waters College's Adams-Jenkins Sports and Music Complex. That facility will play host to six of Thursday's eight games and all Friday and Saturday games.

The Gold Nuggets secured their seed and earned the regular-season championship by a game over Talladega by winning 59-53 at Dillard on Saturday. The Gold Rush also won at Dillard, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor in a wire-to-wire 67-43 decision, and grabbed a share of the GCAC men's regular-season title with Tougaloo, a 71-65 loser at SUNO.

It's the first time since 2003-04 that both XU teams won GCAC titles in the same regular season.

The XU men split their two regular-season meetings with Tougaloo. The coin flip was necessary because the Rush and Bulldogs had identical records against each of the other already determined seeds. The tie for fourth place between Philander Smith and Talladega was not determined until after the coin flip for No. 1. After Tougaloo won the flip — Bulldogs coach Lafayette Stribling successfully called heads — Philander Smith earned the No. 4 seed by virtue of a 1-1 record against Tougaloo. Talladega was 0-2 against the Bulldogs.

Both XU teams were 2-0 against Fisk in the regular season. The Gold Nuggets won 71-28 at home on Jan. 14 and 81-50 at Fisk this past Monday. The Gold Rush won 65-58 at home and 74-50 at Fisk on the same dates.

If the XU women win Thursday, they'll play fourth-seeded Dillard or fifth-seeded Tougaloo in the semifinals at 2 p.m. EST Friday. If the XU men advance, they'll face third-seeded SUNO or sixth-seeded Edward Waters at 8 p.m. Friday.

The championship games will be Saturday, with the women playing at noon EST and the men to follow at 2 p.m.

The Gold Nuggets defeated Tougaloo 71-44 in 2011 to win their second consecutive GCAC Tournament. Tougaloo beat Xavier 93-80 in overtime for the men's championship.

Both tournament champions will receive automatic bids to the NAIA Division I National Championships, which will begin March 14. The men's tournament will return to Kansas City, Mo., for the 11th consecutive year and celebrate its 75th anniversary. The women's tournament will begin a three-year run in Frankfort, Ky., after being played in Jackson, Tenn., the past 22 years.

Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournaments
at Jacksonville, Fla. — all times Eastern


Thursday, March 1
Quarterfinals (First Round

Xavier (22-8, #1 seed) vs. Fisk (4-24, #8 seed), 10 a.m.
• Dillard (13-11, #4 seed) vs. Tougaloo (14-13, #5 seed), 10 a.m.
Talladega (20-7, #2 seed) vs. Philander Smith (5-24, #7 seed), 2 p.m.
SUNO (13-10, #3 seed) vs. Edward Waters (9-22, #6 seed) 6 p.m.

Friday, March 2

Xavier-Fisk winner vs. Dillard-Tougaloo winner, 2 p.m.
Talladega-Philander Smith winner vs. SUNO-Edward Waters winner, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

Semifinal winners meet at noon


Thursday, March 1
Quarterfinals (First Round)

Tougaloo (21-7, #1 seed) vs. Dillard (1-28, #8 seed), noon
• Philander Smith (14-14, #4 seed) vs. Talladega (11-18, #5 seed), noon
Xavier (22-7, #2 seed) vs. Fisk (6-22, #7 seed), 4 p.m.
SUNO (14-13, #3 seed) vs. Edward Waters (11-17, #6 seed) 8 p.m.

Friday, March 2

Tougaloo-Dillard winner vs. Philander Smith-Talladega winner, 4 p.m.
Xavier-Fisk winner vs. SUNO-Edward Waters winner, 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

Semifinal winners meet at 2 p.m.
• Game to be played at Florida State College (south campus) Sports Center; all other games to be played at Edward Waters College's Adams-Jenkins Sports and Music Complex.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SCSU blown away by A&T for Cage-Bibbs' 499th career win

 OF 499-278 (124-84 @ A&T), IN 26 SEASONS.
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina - The North Carolina A&T Aggies had plenty to motivate them coming into Saturday's rematch against S.C. State at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

First was the opportunity to avenge Feb. 11's 71-68 home loss to the Bulldogs; second was the opportunity to pull two games ahead of the sixth-place Bulldogs in the MEAC standings and third was the opportunity to pull within one victory of head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs' 500 career win milestone.

The Aggies (13-14, 8-6) capitalized on all three, handing the Bulldogs(11-14, 6-8) a 101-61 loss. It was the second time this season the Aggies have passed the century mark. It was the largest margin of victory in series history and it was the most lopsided win of the Bibbs era.

"Last time they beat us up and down the court," said Bibbs. "Today our kids came out so much energy. It was like this team didn't know who our team was. We were perfect today.

"I'm a happy, happy coach!," she continued. "I loved it. Our kids played hard and with a lot of energy, this is the best seriously I've seen us play all year. It was a great win, and a great win for us to do it on their court."

Redshirt sophomore Amber Calvin posted 23 points, including five 3-pointers, with seven rebounds and a career-high nine assists.

"You know when Amber's on the floor, she just makes things happen. She has that court awareness, but everyone played well. They wanted it," Bibbs said.

Sophomore Tiffanie Adair had 20 points and nine rebounds, and junior JaQuayla Berry added 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and a team-high three steals. She is now seven points shy of becoming the 12th player in school history to reach 1,000 points.

Sophomore DeAndra Davis had a career-high 14 points as well. The Aggies shot a season-high 60.9 percent for the game.

"Well it's (S.C. State's) homecoming, and they beat us on our home court," said Bibbs. "(Our ladies) wanted this; they wanted to definitely make a statement. It wasn't so much about this game, it's about what we're looking forward to. We'll take care of business as we go. We're looking forward to taking it into the MEAC tournament."

Entering into the game, the Bulldogs were just one game back behind the Aggies, with two games coming up against sub-.500 MEAC teams to end the season. Making sure they won this match-up to pull two games ahead in the standing was key for the Aggies.

"It's very important because they have N.C. Central and then they have Delaware State. They have another game at home before going on the road. It was just really important to get this game to hopefully keep us competitive for fifth place," Bibbs said.

Ending the year in fifth place in the conference would ensure that the Aggies would face the No. 12 seed in the opening round of the MEAC Tournament.

The Aggies dominated the Bulldogs early. They took a 31-14 lead over the first 10 minutes of the game. A 15-0 run fueled by six Adair points and a pair of Davis field goals gave A&T a 32-point lead. The lead eventually ballooned to a 57-19 halftime lead.

"At halftime, we just said, hey, we gotta go back with the very same thing and go get it," Bibbs said.

The Aggies set a new-season best in first half points, fueled by 65 percent shooting from the floor. While several Aggies had strong performances, Bibbs was truly pleased by Davis'.

"I really liked the energy of DeAndra Davis," Bibbs said. "She played great. She's a lockdown defender. We're very proud of her coming out today."

The Aggies will be looking for more from Davis, Calvin and Berry as the Aggies take on Savannah State in their final road game of the regular season at 6 p.m. on Monday. The Aggies will return home for their season finale against Norfolk State at 5:30 p.m. at Corbett Sports Center on Thursday, March 1.

"We're just looking forward to Monday night. We've got two more games and we'll get it and we'll just keep going. I'm happy and I'm excited. We've got to go in there and play," Bibbs said.