Playing in her school’s first postseason game after achieving Division I status, Morgan State senior guard Erin Hawkins knocked down a deep three-pointer from the right side to give her team a 3-0 lead in the early moments of Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). Approximately 39 minutes later, her fellow senior guard Brittany Dodson sank a three-pointer that banked in off the glass for the final points of the game and both players’ collegiate career.

In between, Morgan State University (MSU) came up short in its upset bid against host University of Virginia, falling 69-56 in the first round of the WNIT Tournament at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.

Dodson led all scorers with 18 points, and sophomore guard Jamie Smith came off the bench to score 12 points. Hawkins added 11 points for MSU, who finished the season with a 17-15 overall record, the school’s fifth consecutive winning season.

Virginia (17-15) was led by junior guards Whitny Edwards and Ariana Moorer, who came off the bench to score 11 and 10 points, respectively. Virginia will face Loyola University, Maryland on March 20.

Following Hawkins’ game-opening three-pointer, Virginia would score the next 11 points before Dodson ended the run with a jumper, cutting the lead to 11-5.

Virginia extended their lead to 25-11, before Hawkins hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit to 25-17 with 6:54 to play. But UVA would again counter with its own surge, using a 10-2 run to push its advantage back up to 14 points at 33-19.

Both teams scored eight points in the final minutes, and Virginia took a 43-27 lead into the locker room.

Morgan State shot 21-of-64 for the game, including 9-of-33 from three-point range. Morgan State went 6-for-8 from the free throw line.

Virginia finished the game shooting 22-of-54 from the field and 5-of-13 from three-point range, and out-rebounded Morgan State, 51-27. Virginia connected on 20-of-24 free throws, which was the difference in the game.

Kevin Paige

Special to the AFRO