Livingstone women give No. 3 Panthers a battle

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Staff report

RICHMOND, Va. — The Livingstone women’s basketball team had a nice little four-game winning streak going, and had evened its record to 7-7.

But the schedule got in the way Wednesday night.

The Blue Bears had to take on undefeated and nationally third-ranked Virginia Union and while Livingstone fought hard, the Lady Panthers prevailed, 92-77.

Virginia Union improved to 14-0 and 5-0 in the CIAA. Livingstone battled hard but fell to 7-8 and 2-3.

Livingstone held its own early, leading, 13-11, behind two 3-point baskets from Bria Patterson and several buckets from Zena Lovette.

But the Panthers went on a 18-0 run to take command of the game. All-American candidate Lady Walker scored eight early points and Jayda Luckie had 11 points in the first seven minutes. As a team, Virginia Union hit 10 of its first 16 shots.

The Blue Bears rebounded somewhat, midway through the second quarter. Trailing, 41-26, Livingstone close the period on a 14-6 run of its own. Lovette scored seven of those points and assisted on two other baskets. Patterson added another 3-pointer during the run.

Lovette had 17 first-half points, but Virginia Union led at the break, 47-40.

Luckie continued her scoring in the third period as the Panthers pulled away, outscoring Livingstone in the quarter, 27-16.

However, Livingstone refused to surrender. Down 74-56, entering the final period, the Blue Bears continued to battle. They cut the deficit to nine points at 86-77, but only 1:43 remained in the game.

In no time, VUU had the lead back to 13 and put the game away at the foul line.

Guards Lovette and Brittany Taylor combined for 48 points — 24 each. Lovette also had 10 rebounds.

Amazingly, Livingstone stayed in the game even though guard Deonna Young, who has averaged 24 points over her last four games, did not score.

Luckie, a UNC Greensboro transfer, led VUU with 28 points, on 9-of-13 shooting. Walker had her usual monster game — 21 points and 22 rebounds.

The 16-point win was the Panthers closest CIAA outcome of the season, having won the previous four league games by an average of 31 points.

LIVINGSTONE (77) — Green 6, Patterson 13, Taylor 24, Lovette 24, Cardriche 2, Young, Redfern 8, Hooker.

VIRGINIA UNION (93) — Luckie 28, Ruffin 6, Spivey 7, Walker 21, Johnson 10, Smith 2, Pecota 17, Sutton 2, Denkins, Carter.

Livingstone                 16   24   16   21 — 77

Virginia Union           29   18   27   19 — 93