NORFOLK, Va. – The No. 5 seed Norfolk State women’s basketball team moved on to the MEAC quarterfinals after a 60-40 victory over No. 12 seed Delaware State on Monday afternoon at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
Kiara Phillips went 6-of-14 from the floor and tallied 16 points to lead the Spartans. She hit three big 3-pointers in the third period that saw Norfolk State outscore the Lady Hornets 25-2.
Norfolk State improved its record to 15-14 overall and advanced to face No. 4 seed Florida A&M Thursday at 2 p.m.
The Spartans turned a four-point lead at the half into a rout by the end of the third quarter, with Norfolk State leading 55-26. After a week off, Norfolk State showed signs of rust in the first 20 minutes of action, shooting just 30.6 percent (11-of-36) from the floor, including 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from downtown. Najai Pollard made a jumper with 2:09 left in the first half to bring Delaware State within 26-24, but the Spartans would score 31 of the next 33 points.
Norfolk State came out more aggressive in the second half and attacked the basket, leaving the shots from deep to Phillips and the team shot 53.3 percent (8-of-15). Meanwhile, Norfolk State clamped down on defense. Lorne Caesar scored the Lady Hornets’ only two points of the period when she hit a jumper with 5:26 remaining in the frame, cutting the deficit to 32-26. Delaware State missed its other 11 attempts in the stanza
Consequently the Spartans closed out the period on a 23-0 run and did not allow the Lady Hornets to score again until Taylor Sparks-Faulkner made her second of two shots at the charity stripe with 8 minutes, 6 seconds left in the game. Prior to Sparks-Faulkner’s made free throw, Norfolk State saw its largest lead of the afternoon at 57-26 when Jordan Strode made a layup with just over 9:00 remaining.
Leading by 31, Norfolk State head coach Larry Vickers emptied his bench in order to give some of his regulars rest in preparation for the Spartans’ next game.
Gabrielle Swinson joined Phillips in double-figures, recording her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, with five assists and two steals. Khalilah Ali added 10 points, while Kayla Roberts grabbed eight rebounds.
Pollard led Delaware State with 18 points and 11 rebounds. She recorded 16 points in the first half, including 14 of the teams 18 points in the second quarter, but Norfolk State limited her to just one second-half bucket late in the fourth quarter, when the game was already decided.
The Spartans assisted on 14 of their 21 made field goals.
Norfolk State outrebounded the Lady Hornets 48-39, including 16-9 on the offensive glass, resulting in a 15-9 advantage in second chance points.
The Spartans outscored Delaware State 30-18 in the paint and 12-4 in transition.