WSSU women send Blue Bears to another defeat

Published 6:44 pm Saturday, February 3, 2018

By Dennis Davidson

SALISBURY — One bad quarter was all it took in Saturday’s CIAA women’s basketball game, but unfortunately for Livingstone, it was the same old story: The Blue Bears fight until the end, but to no avail.

Winston-Salem State built a substantial lead with a 21-7 second period and went on to win at New Trent Gym, 83-72. The Rams got double-figure scoring from four players, including 23 points from 6-3 post Kandace Tate.

The loss was the Blue Bears’ 12th straight and 14th in their last 15 games. Livingstone is now 5-16 overall and 0-11 in the CIAA. WSSU improves to 10-10 and 5-6.

Livingstone junior forward Kyala Searcy turned in another strong effort, leading the Blue Bears with 23 points and 14 rebounds. She left the game with two minutes left with an injury.

Searcy and I’Keya Bland led the way in the first quarter as Livingstone grabbed a 15-12 lead. But the big second period by the Rams left the Blue Bears trailing at halftime, 33-22.

The third period turned into a foul-fest, including two sets of double-technicals when tempers flared on possession tie-ups. WSSU’s lead reached 19 points during the quarter and the score was 57-41, heading into the final stanza.

Coach Tiffany Silver’s Blue Bears appeared ready to make runs at the Rams on several occasions in the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t make big shots when they had the opportunity. Livingstone cut the deficit to 12 points a couple of times, but the closest it got was the final 11-point margin.

The abundance of fouls for the game (WSSU 27, Livingstone 26) did neither team a lot of good, thanks to dismal performances at the foul line. The Rams made just 18-of-34 free throws (52.9 percent) while Livingstone sank only 17-of-31 (54.8).

No one fouled out during the contest, but 10 players were sitting on four personals when the game ended — six for Livingstone and four for the Rams.

WSSU did shoot 43 percent from the field, thanks in large part to layups the Rams got when breaking the Livingstone full-court press. Tate scored 17 of her points in the final quarter on eight layups and a free throw.

Forward Briana Arnold had a double-double for the Rams, adding 10 points to her game-high 17 rebounds. Brionna Pate followed Tate in the scoring with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Tiana Edwards added 10 points.

Bland followed Searcy for Livingstone with 17 points and 10 rebounds, giving the team two women with double-double performances.

NOTES: Like Searcy, Livingstone guard Kedra Bradley was also injured during the final minutes and was taken directly to the athletic training room. … Livingstone returns to action on Wednesday at Shaw, before hosting Fayetteville State next Saturday.

WINSTON-SALEM STATE (83) — Johnson 9, Pate 15, Williams 5, Edwards 10, Arnold 10, Tate 23, Stevens 3, Brown 6, Shields 2.

LIVINGSTONE (72) — Green 6, Robinson 5, Bland 17, Bradley 4, Searcy 23, Perkins 9, Galay, DeBerry 6, Foote 2, Porter.

W-S State            12    21   24   26 — 83

Livingstone        15      7    19   31 —  72