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NSU punches their ticket to the MEAC Championship

Deja Francis bringing the ball down the court. Nick Sutton/ Kinetic Stills

The Lady Spartans defeat North Carolina Central University 81-59 to punch their ticket to the MEAC championship game. After struggling earlier in yesterday’s game NSU came out fast shooting 4-8 at the beginning of the first quarter.

Norfolk State’s defense played in the 3-2 zone maintaining movement and forcing turnovers. NSU scored in the paint well 14 points inside, Danaijah Williams finished the half with 8 points and 2 rebounds off the bench after not playing yesterday. Camille Downs finished the half with 11 points 3 Assists, and 3 rebounds. The Spartans forced 14 turnovers in the first half.

The Spartans forced 9 turnovers in the first, and the Eagles’ head coach Trisha Strafford-Odom received a Technical Foul for yelling at officials after pleading her case for foul calls that weren’t called.

NSU finished the half with 50%, and NCCU a whopping 22%. NSU had 9 first-half steals. NCCU head coach Trisha Strafford-Odem was tossed from the game after receiving her 2nd Technical Foul. This call caused friction between the officials and NCCU players. NSU led 39-22 at the half.

NSU started off the half shooting the 2 technical free throws from the Eagles’ coach ejection. NCCU started the half cutting the lead to 14 in the 3rd quarter. Morgan Callahan led the way with 8 points. The Spartans fought back and never let the lead go.

NSU fought back every time NCCU got within 12, they come back and hit a clutch 3 to extend the lead. After a hard-fought and emotional second half, the Spartans came out on top.

“When the lead went down to 8, we had already seen them twice,” Coach Vickers said. “So now we have seen them twice,so we know we must control our emotions, we are a good group. We have had some technical fouls this year that have lost us some games so the first thing I told them to do is relax,” Vickers said.

Camille Downs finished the game with 15 points 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. “It felt good to get out there,” Downs said. “We have to get are good back this year after losing last year in the championship so as a team we are motivated and focused,” Downs continued.

Kierra Wheeler finished the game with yet another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. “It does feel good, but I was preparing for this in the preseason,” Wheeler said. “We are all prepared for this, and we are focused and ready.”

The Lady Spartanst prepare to play in the championship tomorrow at 4:00 pm in Norfolk Scope Arena, on ESPNU. Their opponent will either be number 3 seed Howard University or number 7 seed University of Maryland Eastern Shore.