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Women’s basketball: Blue Bears cruise past Bowie St.

By Laurie D. Willis

Livingstone College News Service

CHARLOTTE – Two weeks ago, Livingstone lost a star player to an eligibility issue, and the conference nullified 18 wins.

But if opponents thought that was going to rattle the Blue Bears in the CIAA Tournament, they might want to think again. Livingstone held a commanding 31-point lead by halftime of the Tuesday’s opening-round game against Bowie State.

Though they weren’t quite as dominant in the second half, the Blue Bears handily defeated the Bulldogs 91-73. They face archrival Johnson C. Smith, the only team to defeat them all season, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We don’t have a lot of time to celebrate this victory, because technically Johnson C. Smith is the only team to beat us this year in the win-loss column,” head coach Anita Howard said. “They have a strong post presence on the inside … and coach [Stephen] Joyner will have those girls ready to go.”

Howard said her team wasn’t as strong defensively as she would have liked, noting that Bowie State’s Donia Naylor was “kind of doing what she wanted on the inside.”

The Blue Bears were led Tuesday by junior shooting guard Amber Curtis, who scored on 7-of-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers, for a total of 18 points.

The Blue Bears spread around the scoring, with three other players scoring in double figures: Precious Roberts had 16 points, Labrea Walker added 12 and All-CIAA player Cierra York contributed 11.

Curtis said it’s no accident the team played well despite the events of recent weeks. She added she always plays with a chip on her shoulder because she “plays to win.”

After Monday’s CIAA men’s and women’s Basketball Tip-off Awards Luncheon, Howard said her players had a newfound focus. She realizes they’ll need it to beat Johnson C. Smith today and make it to the third round of the CIAA Tournament.

“We must stay locked in on execution and intensity for the remainder of the tournament,” Howard said. “There’s no room for complacency. Effort has been our staple all year, and we certainly can’t lose sight of that now at this pivotal juncture in our season.”

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