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By Carl Lut Williams
Black College Sports Page

ROCK HILL, SC – East Division top seed Benedict broke open a close game late riding three double-figure scorers to an 85-72 win over Tuskegee in the championship game of the women’s SIAC Tournament here Saturday afternoon at the new Rock Hill Sports and Event Center.BenedictWomen SIAC BKB ChampsBenedict College
2020 SIAC Women's Basketball Champions

Tuskegee (16-14), the second seed from the West, battled the East Division leaders on near even terms through three quarters forging seven ties and ten lead changes. The teams were tied at 22 after the first quarter. Benedict had a slim 35-33 halftime edge and led 55-49 entering the final period.

But after Tuskegee pulled to within one point on two occasions, the last at 61-60 with 5:45 left. Benedict finished on a 24-12 run.

The Lady Tigers (27-3) got a game-high 23 points from sophomore guard Wykira Johnson, 22 points and a game-high 14 rebounds from junior center and SIAC Player of the Year Ay’Anna Bey and 19 points from junior forward Shanassia White. The trio combined for 40 of Benedict’s 50 second-half points.

Bey was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Tuskegee’s all-conference guard India Blakely did everything to keep the Lady Golden Tigers close and finished with a team-high 21 points along with four assists and five steals. Ashiala Jackson had 11 points and a team-high 11 boards. Lena Yoonis also had 11 points while Normesha Pitts tallied 10.

Johnson, Blakely and Jackson joined Bey on the all-tournament team.

With the win, Benedict head coach James Rice takes home his fourth tournament title in eight years at the helm. His Lady Tigers will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Div. II national tournament in the South Region, his teams’ fifth postseason berth.

The 64-team field will be announced tomorrow (March 8).

 

ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
Ay’Anna Bey, Benedict (MVP)
Wykira Johnson, Benedict
India Blakely, Tuskegee
Ashiala Jackson, Tuskegee

TOURNAMENT TOP COACH
James Rice, Benedict

 

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