By: Maya Dawson, Sports Editor
The Delaware State Hornets (9-11, 5-3 MEAC) came to visit the Lady Spartans (13-8, 8-1 MEAC) on “Youth Day,” Feb. 8. The Spartans won 65-57 in a game that had one of the craziest endings.
The game started off pretty sloppy with the Spartans having seven turnovers but thanks to La’Deja James’s seven points they were still in the game. They didn’t shoot well either going 4 for 10 in the first.
They were in some serious foul trouble with Dana Echols and La’Deja James both having two fouls, and because of that the Hornets went to the line 10 times and converted 7.
In the second quarter is where the Spartans really hit them hard. They held the Hornets to four points in the quarter allowing them to catch up to them. The Hornets were 2-13 and 0-5 from beyond-the-arc in the second.
Cam Platt-Morris came off the bench for the Spartans and played some good minutes for the Spartans going 2-3 for four points in the second.
La’Deja James was hot by halftime leading with 11 points on 5-8 shooting. Her input on the court allowed for the Spartans to bounce back and end the half up four points.
To start the third quarter the Hornets went on a 12-2 run to go up by 8 points at the 3-minute mark. Lyric Turner had 8 of those points to get her team on a roll. The Hornets hit four threes in the quarter with Tierra Flloyd making both of her attempts.
In the fourth quarter, the Spartans were playing such a suffocating defense that they had four steals in five defensive possessions: three from La’Deja James and one from Dana Echols. This made the lead 46-51 for the Hornets.
The final two minutes were the most intense minutes of the game for the Spartans. Armani Franklin forced a turnover that let the Spartans gain possession. Mikaela Jones hit a layup assisted by La’Deja James to put the Spartans down 3.
With the Spartans back on defense, Jones fouled Lanayjha Ashe who was then sent to the free-throw line, where she hit both to put the Hornets up 5. Jones then made up for it when she was fouled on a layup attempt at the 48-second mark. She has a 36% free throw percentage, but she hit these free throws with ease.
A timeout was called and then the Hornets had possession. With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Lanayjha Ashe shot a jumper and missed with Mikaela Jones grabbing the crucial defensive rebound leaving only 16 seconds left on the clock.
Norfolk State head coach Larry Vickers called a timeout to formulate a plan. Dana Echols in-bounded the ball then got the ball back, drove to the basket and kicked it out to Platt-Morris who then hit the game-tying three-pointer with no time left to send the Spartans into overtime.
With a fresh new set of 5 minutes in the game to play, everyone stepped up their game. Platt-Morris was the difference-maker in this game, hitting the game-winning three to send them into overtime and hitting another three to begin overtime. The Spartans went on a 6-0 run to start overtime to clinch the win over the Hornets.
The Spartans didn’t allow the Hornets to make one shot in overtime. They only scored four points and they were all on free-throws.
The player of the game was La’Deja James, who finished her last game with a career-high 36 points, put up 27 on 10-19 shooting, with 5 assists and 4 steals. Cam Platt-Morris was also a key factor in the win. She finished with a career-high 14 points on 6-13 shooting.
Lyric Turner for the Hornets finished with 16 points in the loss and Lanayjha Ashe finished with 15 points.
The next game for the Spartans is against Morgan State on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. at Norfolk State’s Joseph Echols Hall. They are currently 14-8, (8-1 MEAC).