• 45°

Women’s college basketball: Fowler’s late free throws seal win

SALISBURY — If everything had gone the way it was supposed to on Saturday afternoon, Livingstone freshman Alexis Fowler probably wouldn’t have been in the game.

But it was a crazy day, and it was Fowler who grabbed the critical defensive rebound and Fowler who made the free throw with 7.2 seconds left that clinched the Blue Bears’ 78-74 CIAA victory against rival Johnson C. Smith in front of an overflow crowd at New Trent Gym.

Fowler, who shoots 78 percent from the foul line, had two free throws. She missed the first but made the second.

“I was telling her, ‘Just give me one,’ and she gave me one,” Livingstone guard Precious Roberts said.

Guards Amber Curtis (23 points), Roberts (22)  and Cierra York (14) carried the offensive burden as Livingstone stayed undefeated. The Blue Bears (18-0, 9-0) were pushed to the limit partly because former Salisbury High star Bubbles Phifer hit five 3-pointers and scored 20 points for the visitors.

“We didn’t want to let Phifer shine, but we did a horrible job defending  her at times,” Livingstone coach Anita Howard said.

Livingstone has lost twice to Division I schools in close exhibition games, but the 18th-ranked Blue Bears are still spotless against Division II opposition. Livingstone managed to win while playing without leading scorer and rebounder Kyra Crosby, a forward who was on the bench but not in uniform. Howard said Crosby wasn’t feeling well.

“We weren’t on all cylinders today,” Howard said. “But we still were able to take the best blow they could throw at us.”

Livingstone led 68-62 after Wende Foster got a friendly roll on a turnaround jumper with seven minutes left, but it was suddenly 68-all after Phifer and teammate Anika Jones knocked down 3-pointers.

Roberts’ 3-pointer that put Livingstone back in front  to stay at 71-68 came with 4:38 remaining and was the critical shot.

“It was a dogfight, and we were prepared for it,” Roberts said. “We made good passes and we made the key shots.”

Curtis hit two free throws with 16.6 seconds left for a 77-73 Livingstone lead.

Lakendra Wilkerson pulled down an offensive rebound for the Bulls (15-4, 5-3) with 8.9 seconds left, was fouled and made a free throw to cut Livingstone’s lead  to 77-74. But Wilkerson missed her second foul shot, and Fowler seized the rebound.

Fowler’s clutch free throw at the end was just part of a great day at the foul line for the Blue Bears, who went 24-for-29 from the stripe. That made up for the advantages the Golden Bulls had on the boards and in field-goal shooting.

“We were 83 percent from the line,” Howard said. “That’s where we won this game.”

J.C. SMITH (74)  — Phifer 20, Jones 16, Porter 10, Wilkerson 9, Brent 7, Gholson 4, Hall 3, Jordan 3, Lynch 2.

LIVINGSTONE  (78) — Curtis 23, Roberts 22, York 14, Fowler 8, Foster 5, Walker 3, Daniels 2, Hicks 1, Lepzem,  Grinage, Blunt.

Fayetteville St.                    35         39     —  74

Livingstone                           42         36    — 78

Comments

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday