Elizabeth City State Outlasts Johnson C. Smith in 53-52 Thriller to Advance to 2023 CIAA Women's Championship Game

BALTIMORE, MD (February 24, 2023) – Dy’Jhanik Armfield scored 20 points as No. 5 seed Elizabeth City State survived a late rally to eke out a 53-52 women’s semifinal victory over No. 8 seed Johnson C. Smith in the CIAA Tournament at CFG Bank Arena Friday afternoon.

Photo Courtesy CIAA

Armfield was named the Food Lion Game MVP after shooting 7-of-16 from the field, three of seven from deep, and is the only Vikings player to score in double-digits. Armfield helped the Vikings build a 47-38 lead heading into the fourth period before the Golden Bulls made things interesting. They mounted a furious rally to pull within 53-52 on two free throws by Le’Zarea Bowens with 1:34 left.

The Golden Bulls had a chance to complete the comeback after the Vikings misfired on two three-point attempts. JCSU gained possession with approximately 30 seconds remaining but Shaniya Jones, the CIAA scoring leader, missed the potential game-winning stepback three-pointer. After a mad scramble on the floor, Elizabeth City State’s Jessica Adams fell on the loose ball and called a timeout with 0.3 seconds left.

Following the timeout, the Vikings safely in-bounded the ball on their side of the court to seal the win.

It was a strong first half that provided enough cushion for Elizabeth City State. The Vikings had a 34-23 lead entering halftime. ECSU started the game on a 9-0 run and then closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run. 

Maryam Hashim added nine points for the Vikings, who outscored JCSU 22-4 in bench points and 26-18 in points in the paint. For Johnson C. Smith, Bowens, an All-CIAA forward, led with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jones, another all-conference selection, finished with 16 points. The Golden Bulls had advantages in points off turnovers (23-13) and second-chance points (16-2) but it was not enough as JCSU concludes its season at 13-16 overall.

The win sends the Vikings (19-10 overall) to the championship game for the second consecutive year. They will vie for their first-ever CIAA Women’s Basketball Tournament crown against either Lincoln (PA) or Shaw. The Lions and the Bears play Friday at 8 p.m. Elizabeth City State could get a chance at redemption after losing to the Lions in the title game last season.

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