NORFOLK, Va., March 10, 2017–Top-seeded Bethune-Cookman pulled away in the second half and advanced to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament championship game after a 59-42 victory over No. 4 Florida A&M inside the Norfolk Scope Arena on Thursday afternoon.
Despite shooting only 28 percent (8-of-29) in the first half, B-CU found its rhythm in the second half. After intermission, the Wildcats shot 58 percent (14-of-24) from the floor.
“We started out and couldn’t get into a flow offensively,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Vaness Blair-Lewis said. “”But once we were able to hit some shots, we were able to get into a groove. I knew that if we continued our defensive effort, we would be alright.”
All-MEAC honoree Kendra Cooper and Emily Williams each scored in double figures; Cooper had a game-high 12 points, while Williams chipped in 11 points.
Moments after the half, Cooper connected on a trey to give the Wildcats a six-point advantage, 28-22.
Florida A&M fought back and tied the contest 29-29 at the 6:22 mark, thanks to a fastbreak layup from Florence Ouattara. Bethune-Cookman responded with an 8-0 spurt, capped off by a layup from Kanesha Battle; thus, forcing a FAMU timeout.
B-CU held an eight-point advantage after three, 41-33.
In the fourth, Bethune-Cookman could not miss from the floor, as the Wildcats shot nearly 73 percent (8-of-11) in the quarter.
With more than five minutes left, the Wildcats had their largest lead of the contest, 55-36.
MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Kailyn Williams grabbed a game-high nine boards while rejecting four shots in the victory.
After a layup from FAMU’s Shakerrya Morrison, the Rattlers took a 14-5 advantage with 3:46 remaining in the opening period.
B-CU answered and closed thequartert on a 10-0 run and took a one-point lead after one, 15-14.
Florida A&M reclaimed the lead after a trey ball from Ouattara, 20-17, with 4:02 left in the half; however, Bethune-Cookman finished the second on a 8-2 spurt to take the intermission lead, 25-22.
FAMU (13-19) shot only 22 percent (15-of-67) in the contest. Ouattara was the lone Rattler to reach double figures with 11 points.