BALTIMORE, MD (February 23, 2022) – The Claflin Lady Panthers (8-19) gave it their all, but in the end, it was not enough as the team took a 70-61 loss to the second-seeded Elizabeth City State Lady Vikings (20-6) in the quarterfinal round of the 2022 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament. The Lady Panthers made the Vikings work for every point in the tough loss, but foul troubles and some quality defense by Elizabeth State proved to too much for the Lady Panthers to overcome.
The Lady Panthers played one of their best overall games of the season in the tough loss. As a team, the Lady Panthers shot a solid 47.9% (23-of-48) from the floor in the game while holding Elizabeth City State to shooting 34.6% (18-of-52). Foul troubles played a role in the loss for the Lady Panthers as the team sent Elizabeth City State to the free throw line for 33 attempts. Claflin senior forward Breanna Price led the way for the Lady Panthers with 18 points in the game while junior forward Destiny Coleman added 12 points with a team-high eight rebounds.
The game was a hard-fought one from the very beginning with the Lady Vikings and the Lady Panthers working hard for every point. After falling behind by as many as five points, 10-5, midway through the quarter, the Lady Panthers stormed back to pull to within two points after a jumper from freshman guard Lauren Scott with 2:21 left in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers ended the quarter trailing, 16-12. The second quarter was an equally hard-fought quarter as the Lady Panthers pulled to within a point, 17-18, after a three-point play from freshman guard Blesseth Dillingham with 8:34 left in the quarter. Down the stretch of the quarter, the Lady Panthers fell behind by as many as seven points before the Lady Panthers came back in a big way. A three-pointer from freshman guard Janelle Sample cut the Lady Panthers’ deficit to just four points, 30-26, with just under a minute to play. The two teams would go on to take the score into the locker room.
In second half, both teams came out with some great efforts. Though it was the Lady Panthers who struck first, it would be a late run by the Lady Vikings that closed out the Claflin loss. In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers came out with a terrific effort. The team would claim their first lead of the game after a three-pointer from senior guard Dionna Long with 6:14 left in the quarter put the team on top, 37-36. She would nail another three-pointer to keep the Lady Panthers ahead, 40-38 and followed the play by assisting on a Price lay-up with 4:06 left to play to leave the Lady Panthers on top 42-38 with 4:06 left in the third quarter. Thus marking the Lady Panthers’ largest lead of the game. However, in the final minutes of the quarter, the Lady Panthers allowed Elizabeth City State to come back and unfortunately, the Lady Panthers ended the quarter trailing, 52-49 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth and final quarter of the game, the Lady Panthers gave a valiant effort, but some late key shots by the Lady Vikings proved to be the key difference. The Lady Panthers kept the game to within as a Scott three-pointer kept the Lady Panthers within two points, 61-59 with 2:45 left to play. Elizabeth City State closed the game on a 7-2 run that capped the tough loss for the Lady Panthers.
With the loss, the Lady Panthers finish the 2021-22 regular season with an 8-19 overall record and their second trip to the CIAA quarterfinal round in school history. For more information on Lady Panthers basketball, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletic Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to www.athletics.claflin.edu.