CHARLOTTE, N.C. – This was a game for the ages.
Virginia Union's Shareka McNeill tied the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Women's Basketball Tournament record with 59 points as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 91-57 victory over Livingstone College Wednesday, Feb. 27, during the 2019 Women's Basketball Quarterfinal Round at the Bojangles Coliseum.
Shareka McNeill tied the record with North Carolina Central's Cassie King, who set the tournament record in 2005 against Bowie State. Her 59 points also broke the Virginia Union single-game record of 49 set by Kiana Johnson in 2016.
She also became the latest Lady Panther to score 1,000 points in a career and set a new VUU season record with 91 three-pointers in a single season.
As the winner, Virginia Union (25-2) advanced to the semifinal round to face the winner of Johnson C. Smith and the Lincoln (Pa.) on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Spectrum Center.
McNeill, who was the lone Lady Panther to score in double digits, lit up the scoreboard on 19-of-29 shooting from the field and featured 14-of-20 shooting from the 3-point line while Darra Walker paced Livingstone (10-20) with 14 points. Livingstone's Daisa Harris would finish with 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and one block to round out the double figure scorers.
In the opening quarter, the Lady Panthers took a 34-16 lead ignited by McNeill's 25 points in the quarter.
"I knew tonight was going to be special after I hit the fifth three-pointer," McNeill said after the game.
"I couldn't be more thrilled about how we started the game," VUU Head Coach AnnMarie Gilbert said. "There are always a lot of nerves going about who you're going to play, but we got a chance to watch the game yesterday where Livingstone put on a spectacular shooting exhibition. It was fun to watch Daisa Harris is a wonderful player and they're well-coached, and they play an exciting 'Golden State Warriors' style of game, so we were concerned with containing their shooters."
The Lady Blue Bears mustered its way back in the contest to cut the deficit to 17 points with a layup from Adel Allen early on in the second quarter, but Virginia Union went on a 25-11 scoring run to take a commanding 60-29 lead at halftime.
McNeill led all scorers with 38 points as the Lady Panthers shot 65.6-percent from the field. Her 38 first-half points broke the VUU record of 30 set by Kiana Johnson in 2016.
Dasia Harris had 11 points and four rebounds to lead the Lady Blue Bears, who shot 31.0-percent from the field.
Livingstone's offensive woes continued in the second half as the Lady Blue Bears hit just two shots, compared the Lady Panthers' seven baskets to outscore Livingstone 21-9 in the third quarter.
Despite being outscored 19-11 in the fourth quarter, VUU cruised to victory.