HAMPTON, Va. – Norfolk State women’s basketball recorded its first-ever Division-I era road win over Hampton on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Lady Pirates 63-48 at the Convocation Center. The win snaps a 20-game road losing streak to HU which dated back to the 1997-98 season. The Spartans last won at Hampton on Jan. 31, 1995. Overall, it is just NSU’s seventh win over the Lady Pirates since the turn of the century, with Hampton holding a 33-7 edge since the 2000-01 season. Alexys Long paced the Spartans with 19 points while scorching the nets to the tune of 8-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from deep.
NSU (13-9, 6-4 MEAC) out-shot Hampton (11-13, 7-4) in all three phases, which helped mitigate 30 turnovers for the Spartans. The Lady Pirates led 15-13 after the first quarter as the Spartans adjusted to HU’s pressure defense. NSU turned the ball over eight times in the period but were able to find good looks when it took care of the ball, shooting 6-of-12 in the quarter.
The Lady Pirates went on a 7-0 run to double up the Spartans, 12-6, with 2:56 to play in the quarter. Norfolk State took a timeout following Monnazjea Finney-Smith’s trey and broke the HU run with back-to-back baskets by Zairya West. Finney-Smith knocked down another shot from deep to push the lead to 15-10 with 35 seconds to play, but Armani Franklin answered from long range 19 seconds later. Scoring in the second quarter ground to a halt as two strong defenses dug in their heels, but the Spartans managed to take a 24-22 lead into the break. Jephany Brown’s 3-pointer put Hampton ahead 20-16 with 6:53 to play in the period, but Norfolk State clamped down and held the Lady Pirates scoreless for the next 6:38 as it built a 24-20 advantage.
The Spartans scored on back-to-back possessions to take a 21-10 lead with 3:41 remaining. Raven Russell knifed into the paint for two points, then Long hit from deep. Long connected on her second trey of the quarter to put NSU up 24-20 with 2:07 to play. The junior guard/forward scored six points in the period without missing a shot.
Allina Starr broke Hampton’s extended scoring drought with a layup in the closing seconds of the half. HU managed only seven points in the period on 3-of-9 shooting with eight turnovers. Norfolk State never trailed in the second half as it shot 45.2 percent from the field while holding the Lady Pirates to 32.1 percent, including 0-of-7 from long range. Long scored nine of her 19 in the final 20 minutes and did not miss a shot, going 4-for-4 from the field.
The Spartans upped their defense at the rim and blocked five shots in the second half. All four of Khadedra Croker’s rejections came after the intermission as she set the all-time single-season record for blocks at NSU. The Suffolk, Virginia native now has 68 blocks this season, to leapfrog Sheila Vereen’s 27-year old record of 65.
NSU scored the first nine of the third quarter to lead 33-22 with 5:44 left in the period. Kayla Roberts netted five of the nine for the Spartans, including an old-fashioned 3-point play in the first minute of the period. Roberts scored again with 6:52 to play, then Croker and Long followed up with baskets on consecutive possessions. K’Lynn Willis broke Hampton’s scoreless streak with a free throw at the 5:25 mark, and the Lady Pirates proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four points.
Kendrea Dawkins stopped the run with a trey to put NSU ahead 36-29 with 2:49 to play. Less than a minute later, the Spartans were ahead by 10 on a foul shot by Roberts and a Croker layup, but HU scored eight of the last 10 points in the quarter the shave the deficit to 41-37 leading to the final frame.
The Spartans put the Lady Pirates away in the fourth, shooting 53.8 percent from the field while holding Hampton to 29.4-percent shooting.
NSU held to a seven-point lead after Brown’s layup with 5:58 to play, but the Spartans scored the next 10 to stretch the lead to 17, the largest of the game. Russell scored four of her 12 points during the run on a layup and a pair at the foul line. Long put Norfolk State ahead by 17 on a jumper with 2:24 to play.
The Spartans owned the rebounding battle 46-24, including a 17-7 edge in offensive boards. Russell led all players with nine rebounds, and Franklin added seven to go along with nine points and five assists. Willis led all HU players with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting while recording a game-high seven steals.
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