By Jason Pompey
The pairings and official times for the Virginia State University Lady Trojans and Trojans basketball teams in the 2012 CIAA Tournament have been announced. The Lady Trojans played Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. vs. Livingstone and the men’s team will play the winner of the Livingstone/Chowan game at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 29.
The Lady Trojans, the #3 seed out of the north, opened up play Tuesday afternoon at 11:00 a.m. against Livingstone College, the #6 seed out of the Southern Division.
The Lady Trojans trailed at the half, but went on a 13-0 run in the second half to defeat Livingstone 65-53 in Ettrick, VA on Jan. 12. Mariame Sylla (senior/Ivory Coast, W. Africa) and Marquilla Evans (senior/Portsmouth, VA) both scored 14 points to lead the Lady Trojans. Sylla also led the way on the boards with a game-high 11 rebounds (6 offensive). She dominated the paint and imposed her will defensively forcing 4 steals. Off the bench for the Lady Trojans was Marquilla Evans with 14 points.
The Trojans, the #4 seed out of the north, will face the winner of the Livingstone/Chowan battle on Wednesday night.
DeVonte’ Williams (freshman/Hampton, VA) carried the Trojans to their second win of the season, scoring a career-high 19 points and adding 6 assists against the Blue Bears of Livingstone College 58-54. The Trojans held the Blue Bears to 37% shooting from the field. Virginia State split their two games with Chowan during the regular season, winning 60-58 on February 4 in Ettrick, VA, but losing 61-49 to the Hawks on February 25 in Murfreesboro, NC.
Both men’s and women’s play began on opening day, Tuesday, February 28 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Semifinals and finals games will be televised on Bounce TV and ESPNU.
Trojans Earn Top Academic Football Award in CIAA
Virginia State’s football team topped all other football squads in the CIAA with a total team GPA of 2.8. The Trojans finished in second place in the CIAA Northern Division and showed balance in both athletics and academics with this achievement.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in conjunction with the CIAA Faculty Athletic Representatives’ Association (CIAA-FARA), has crunched the numbers, and the final team grade point averages for the 2011-2012 Fall and Winter seasons are in.
“This is an outstanding award for VSU football team. This award ranks with winning a CIAA Championship and I am very proud of that accomplishment. Our academic advisor, Mrs. Lorraine D. Cone, as well as our coaching staff, has made sure that our student-athletes are excelling in and out of the classroom and it shows with awards like this one,” states head football coach, Andrew Faison.
GPA’s are calculated by the previous two semesters, excluding freshmen, and are evaluated by the CIAA-FARA. The continued commitment of the CIAA to the academic success of its student-athletes falls in line with the mission of Division II; to create “Life in the Balance”. The Division emphasizes sportsmanship, passion, balance, resourcefulness, learning and service.
On Saturday, October 20th, Virginia State University’s football team will host Homecoming 2012 against Lincoln (Pa.) at 1:30 p.m. in Rogers Stadium. VSU holds a 6-0 lead in the series, winning last season meeting 21-16 on the road in West Grove, PA. The Trojans will host five home games this season, compared to only having three home games the entire last season.
Edwards and Bynum Honored at VSU’s 5th Annual Black Heritage Ball/NAACP Image Awards
Samantha Edwards (senior/ Elmont, NY) and Michael Bynum (junior/ Norfolk, VA) were honored on Saturday, February 25th, at VSU’s 5th Annual Black Heritage Ball NAACP Image Awards in the Gateway Dining Event Center at 6:30 p.m.
Edwards is a four time NCAA All-American track and field student-athlete in her career at Virginia State University. Samantha holds the fastest 400m time of the year (53.97) in NCAA Division II. She recently broke the school record in the women’s 200m dash (24.25) at the Virginia Tech Challenge earlier in February and led her Lady Trojans women’s indoor track and field team to Virginia State’s first ever CIAA Women’s Indoor Championship.
Bynum is a three-year starter on the men’s basketball team. Michael is a 5-10 guard that scored a career-high 18 points against Lincoln (PA) earlier this week. He ranks third in the CIAA in three-point percentage (42.7%) and leads his team with 35 made three-pointers.
The VSU NAACP and Graduate Student association hosted an evening of celebration, unity, rededication and culture at the 5th Annual Black Heritage Ball/NAACP Image Awards. There was live music, song, dance and drama productions, a motivating speaker, and great food.
Hill Approaches Coaching Milestone
Now in his sixth season at the helm of Virginia State’s women’s basketball program, James Hill, Jr. is approaching his first milestone in the coaching ranks; he is two wins away from his 100th career victory. Hill will be the first ever coach at VSU to reach the 100th win plateau in the NCAA era.
Hill comments, “I am honored and it feels great. When I first came to Virginia State from Shaw, back in 2006, the women’s program was at the bottom of the CIAA conference. Hard work and dedicated student-athletes helped build back the women’s basketball program at VSU.”
Coach Hill became the first Virginia State women’s head coach to be named CIAA Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10). The Lady Trojans, under Hill’s leadership, has appeared in the NCAA Tournament, ranked as high as #16 in the USA Today/ESPN Women’s Basketball Poll, and ranked as high as third in the Atlantic Region of the NCAA all during the 2009-10 season. Hill became the third women’s basketball coach at VSU to win 20+ games in back-to-back seasons.
He was named CIAA Coach of the Week on December 19, 2011, after the Lady Trojans won three games straight.
Hill has also led the Lady Trojans to three semi-final appearances in the CIAA Tournament and he looks to reach the finals and ultimately win the championship to cap off an outstanding career at the Land of Troy.
Created in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament is celebrating their 100th anniversary. The Virginia State Lady Trojans are geared to be the team to come out on top of the single-elimination tournament in Charlotte, N.C and will assist their coach in reaching his milestone.
Jason Pompey is Sports Information Officer for Virginia State University Athletics. Email: JPompey@VSU.edu