NORFOLK, Va. – Monnazjea Finney-Smith’s career-high 25 points helped Hampton complete a season-sweep of the Norfolk State women’s basketball team with a 77-65 victory over the Spartans on Monday at Hampton University’s Convocation Center.
Gabrielle Swinson recorded a career-high 19 points to lead the Spartans (14-14, 9-7 MEAC) in their final regular-season game. Swinson led the team in points, and rebounds. She had seven assists and grabbed six rebounds to match career highs in both categories and registered four steals as well.
The teams battled to an 18-18 tie after the first 10 minutes. Norfolk State’s Jordan Strode knotted the score at five when she made a jumper 2:23 into the game. Kaylah Lupoe hit a jumper in the paint a minute later to begin a 7-0 run for the Lady Pirates.
Kayla Roberts stopped Hampton’s run and began the Spartans’ 8-0 spurt when she hit a jumper in the paint with 2:45 left in the quarter. Swinson gave Norfolk State its final lead of the game at 15-14 when she completed an old-fashioned 3-point play with 1:37 remaining in the period. Dominique Harper converted one of her two free throws with three seconds remaining to tie the game for the fifth and final time in the game.
The momentum swung in the Lady Pirates’ favor when Roberts picked up her second personal foul with 2:26 left in the first quarter. She would have to sit the remaining 12-plus minutes of the half. Hampton outscored Norfolk State 10-0 in second-chance points in the second period as NSU struggled on the glass with Roberts on the bench.
Hampton scored the first five points of the second quarter and never looked back. Finney-Smith completed a 3-point play at the line, giving Hampton a 29-22 lead with 4:54 left in the half. The Lady Pirates continued to extend their lead, which reached a high of 14 in the first half at 40-26 when Lupoe converted two free throws with just 61 seconds left in the half.
Coming out of the break, Lupoe made two consecutive layups to extend Hampton’s lead back to 13, 44-31 with 8:16 left in the third. However, Roberts made two free throws to start another 7-0 run for the Spartans and Swinson made two layups to cut the deficit to 44-38 with 6:21 left in the third quarter. But that would be the closest Norfolk State would get the remainder of the game.
Once again, the Lady Pirates opened a period with a run. In the fourth, Jephany Brown made a layup and a triple, followed by a deep three from DeJane James to open up an 18-point lead at 62-44, with 7:10 left in regulation. NSU couldn’t get closer than 12 after that.
Strode and Harper joined Swinson in double-figures with 16 points and 15 points, respectively.
Hampton shot 46.4 percent (26-of-56) from the floor, including 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from 3-point range, which are season-highs for any Norfolk State opponent this season.
Norfolk State must now wait to find out who its opening round opponent will be in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, which begins next Monday at the Norfolk Scope. The loss guaranteed the Spartans cannot finish any higher than the fourth seed and are guaranteed of playing a first-round game on either Monday or Tuesday, depending on Thursday’s other results and tie-breaker scenarios.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com