NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State women’s basketball team will be looking for its second MEAC Tournament semifinals appearance in the last three years when the fifth-seeded Spartans face No. 4 seed Florida A&M on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinal round. The winner advances to a noon semifi nal on Friday against
Spartans in the MEAC Tourney: Norfolk State is 17-17 all-time in the MEAC Tournament, with one championship (2002). The Spartans have reached the MEAC finals on two other occasions, losing in 2000 and 2005. The Spartans are looking for their second trip to the semifinals in the last three seasons, after a 60-40 victory over Delaware State on Monday. Norfolk State is 2-1in the MEAC Tournament against Thursday’s opponent, Florida A&M.
Scouting NSU: Kiara Phillips led three Norfolk State players in double figures with 16 points, and the fifth-seeded Spartans cruised to a 60-40 win over No. 12 seed Delaware State in the first round of the 2017 MEAC Tournament on Monday at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
Gabrielle Swinson recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Khalilah Ali dropped in 10 points, while Kayla Roberts grabbed eight boards. Norfolk State has won a MEAC first-round game for the second time in the last three years.
The Spartans held DSU to just 25 percent shooting and forced nine Lady Hornet turnovers in the second half. Leading 30-24 at the end of the first half, Norfolk State outscored Delaware State 25-2 in the third quarter to blow the game open. The Spartans led by as many as 31 points in the second half.
Scouting Florida A&M: No. 4 seed Florida A&M defeated 13th-seeded South Carolina State 65-62 in the opening round of the the 2017 MEAC Basketball Tournament Monday afternoon at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
Florida A&M scored the first 10 points of the game and led 21-16 at the end of the opening 10 minutes of action. South Carolina State was able to close to within five by ending the quarter with a 14-6 spurt of their own. The Lady Bulldogs led by one at the half, but Florida A&M regained the lead early in the third quarter and never relinquished it the rest of the way.
Ecenur Yurdakul led the Rattlers with 13 points, while Florence Ouattara added 10 points and Shakerrya Morrison grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
All-Time Series vs. Florida A&M: Norfolk State is just 6-23 all-time against the Lady Rattlers, but the Spartans have won two of the last five. Prior to that, Norfolk State dropped 17-of-18 to the Lady Rattlers. Florida A&M defeated the Spartans 59-51 in the only regular-season meeting between the two teams on Feb. 18 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Last Meeting vs. Florida A&M: Florida A&M held off a late push by the Norfolk State women’s basketball team as the Spartans fell 59-51 at the Al Lawson Center on Feb. 18.
Norfolk State’s Alexys Long registered a career-high 15 points, with 13 of those coming in the first half.
Dawn King made a layup giving Florida A&M its largest lead of the game at 55-42, with 3 minutes, 8 seconds remaining. Facing a 13-point deficit, the Spartans made one final run over the next 92 seconds and cut the lead to four, at 55-51.
However, the Lady Rattlers sealed the victory at the free-throw line. They went 4-for-8 down the stretch, allowing the Spartans to stay within striking distance. But Norfolk State missed its final five shots, including three desperation 3-pointers in the final 22 seconds.
Delaware State Recap by the Numbers: Here are some more notes from Norfolk State’s first-round win over Delaware State:
• 40: Delaware State’s 40 points match the second-fewest by a Norfolk State opponent this season and matches the fewest by a Division I opponent, when the Spartans defeated North Carolina Central 71-40 on Jan. 14 at Echols Hall.
• 20: The 20-point margin of victory was Norfolk State’s third-largest ever in a MEAC tourney game, trailing only the 26-point win over Maryland Eastern Shore (68-42) in 2001 and a 25-point victory over Delaware State (70-45) in 2015.
• 16: Kiara Phillips scored a team-high 16 points
• 13: Gabrielle Swison’s number of rebounds in the game, which is a new career-high.
• 12: All 12 players in uniform played.
All-MEAC Spartans: Norfolk State junior guard/forward Kayla Roberts was named to the All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first team, while senior guard Jordan Strode was named to the All-MEAC third team as the league announced its yearly postseason awards. Roberts is the fourth Spartan to earn All-MEAC first team honors in school history and the first since Rachel Gordon at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Roberts is currently 10th in the conference in scoring (12.3 ppg) and first in the MEAC and 29th in the nation with 7.0 defensive rebounds per game. Her 9.1 rebounds per game ranks third in the MEAC and 51st in the nation. She has blocked 59 shots this season, which ranks fifth in the conference and 41st nationally.
Strode is currently second on the team in scoring, at 11.6 points per game, which ranks 12th in the MEAC entering the MEAC tournament. Strode is also ninth in the league in free-throw percentage at 74.2 percent. She was named MEAC Player of the Week once during the season.
All Tournament Games on ESPN3: Every MEAC Tournament game will be streamed live on ESPN3, ESPN’s live sports broadband network. It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection/cable subscription from an affiliated service provider.
Log onto http://www.watchespn.com for more information.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com