BALTIMORE, MD (February 21, 2023) – The 2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament tipped off on Tuesday, February 21. Check out recaps from the first day of action inside the newly renovated CFG Bank Arena. 

Women’s – #6 Shaw 62, #11 Claflin 49 (Opening Round)

Photo Courtesy CIAA

No. 6 seed Shaw opened the 2023 CIAA Tournament by exploding to a 35-9 halftime lead and then holding on for a 62-49 opening-round women’s basketball victory over No. 11 Claflin in the CIAA Tournament at CFG Bank Arena on Tuesday.

The Bears were led by a trio of players, including All-CIAA standouts Brittiney Seymour and Tanayja London. Seymour, named Food Lion Game MVP, and London both tallied 16 points and Inari Jones contributed 12 points. Seymour added six rebounds for the Bears, who jumped out to a 26-point lead at intermission.

Claflin rallied in the second half, outscoring the Bears 40-27, but the Bears fended off the Panthers for the win. Janell Horton pumped in 14 points and Nya Morris collected eight points and 14 rebounds for Claflin. The Panthers ended their season at 12-14. UP NEXT: The Bears (16-13 overall) advanced to the quarterfinals when they will take on No. 3 seed Winston-Salem State on Thursday at 12 p.m.

Women’s – #8 Johnson C. Smith 72, #9 Virginia Union 54 (Opening Round)

No. 8 seed Johnson C. Smith relied on a big third period to topple No. 9 seed Virginia Union 72-54 in the second game of Tuesday’s set of CIAA Tournament opening round games at CFG Bank Arena.

Najah Lane scored 19 points and Food Lion MVP Shaniya Jones, an All-CIAA selection, added 17 points for the Golden Bulls (12-15 overall), while All-CIAA performer Ny Langley scored 16 points for Virginia Union, whose season came to a close at 13-16 overall. Langley also added six boards, five assists, and four steals.

Photo Courtesy CIAA

Leading by two at halftime, the Golden Bulls outscored the Lady Panthers 28-16 in the third period to open a 53-39 lead. At one point, JCSU went on a 13-0 run to balloon a 29-27 edge into a 44-29 advantage. The Golden Bulls shot 65 percent in the third period.

The Panthers closed within single digits in the fourth period, cutting the deficit to five points but the Golden Bulls went on a late 13-2 run to pull away. For the contest, JCSU shot 42.9 percent and held Virginia Union to 31.2 percent.

UP NEXT: The Golden Bulls will play top seed and Southern Division champion Fayetteville State on Wednesday at 2:20 p.m.

Women’s – #5 Elizabeth City State 59, #12 Saint Augustine’s 54 (Opening Round)

All-CIAA (2019-20) guard NyAsia Blango poured in 21 points, including six points in the last 1:12 to lead No. 5 seed Elizabeth City State over No. 12 seed Saint Augustine’s 59-55 in the first round of the CIAA Tournament.

Photo Courtesy CIAA

Blango, who was named Food Lion Game MVP, added four assists for the Vikings, who trailed 30-27 at halftime. The Vikings were on fire in the third period, outscoring the Falcons 20-7 for a 47-37 edge heading into the fourth period.

The Falcons, led by All-CIAA player Lauren Banks, rallied back from a 10-point deficit and held a one-point lead twice late in the contest. Each time Blango responded with a driving layup to put the Vikings back on top. She later drilled two free throws with seven seconds remaining to give ECSU a three-point lead.

After a Banks free throw cut the Vikings’ lead to two, Sirenna Pitts swished two from the charity stripe with three seconds left to clinch the game for ECSU.

Banks led the Falcons with 17 points and Taniyah Greene added 14 for Saint Augustine’s, which finished its season at 8-17 overall. Brown chipped in 10 points.

UP NEXT: The Vikings (17-10 overall) moved to the quarterfinals where No. 4 seed Bowie State awaits. They square off Thursday at 2 p.m.

Women’s – #7 Virginia State 66, #10 Livingstone 63 (Opening Round)

Raija Todd scored 19 points, including two clutch free throws with five seconds left, as No. 7 Virginia State survived a 66-63 women’s basketball first-round thriller over No. 10 seed Livingstone 66-63 in the CIAA Tournament.

Photo Courtesy CIAA

Todd, named Food Lion Game MVP, was 10 of 15 from the free throw line, including her two late free throws to hold off a frantic Livingstone rally in the final seconds. The Trojans trailed by four entering the fourth period but pushed ahead 61-55 with 1:14 remaining.

But Thalia Carter scored on a driving layup to pull the Blue Bears within 64-63 with 7.4 seconds left. It appeared the Blue Bears stole the in-bounds pass but the Trojans called timeout. Once play resumed, Todd’s free throws pushed the Trojans’ lead to three. The final horn sounded before the Blue Bears got off a potential game-tying shot.

All-CIAA players Sommer Blakemore and Kalyn Ervin added 13 points and 10 points, respectively, for the Trojans (12-15 overall). The loss ended the Blue Bears’ season at 11-18 overall.

Jamiah Lane led the Blue Bears with 18 points and Andresia Alexander added 13 points.

UP NEXT: The Trojans face No. 2 seed and defending CIAA champion Lincoln (PA) in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Tournament Central

2023 CIAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

2023 CIAA Men’s Tournament Bracket

2023 CIAA Tournament Opening Round Photos

2023 CIAA Tournament Day 2 Photos

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