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James' career high 36 leads to NSU women's comeback win

La'Deja James' career-high 36 points to beat the N.C. Central Eagles 83-75 at the McDougald-McLendon Arena on Monday night.
Credit: NSU Athletics

DURHAM, N.C. — The Norfolk State women's basketball used a second half comeback behind La'Deja James' career-high 36 points to beat the N.C. Central Eagles 83-75 at the McDougald-McLendon Arena on Monday night. James' 36 points is now tied for second all-time in single-game scoring in NSU's Division I history, as well as NSU's best scoring performance since Rae Corbo's 37 points against Marshall in the 2014-15 season.
 
The Spartans' (13-8, 7-1 MEAC) comeback began in the third quarter, cutting a double-digit Eagles' (6-15, 3-5 MEAC) lead into single-digits heading into the final period. James started to take over in the third, scoring 17 of the Spartans' 25 point in the quarter. James hit two treys in the period, while the Spartans went 4-of-6 (67%) from downtown as a team.
 
The Spartans entered the fourth quarter down 61-57, trailing the entire duration of the game up until that point. After a couple traded baskets from both teams, the Spartans went on an 8-2 run to tie the game at 69-69 following a layup by Blaire Thomas with 4:10 left in the game. From that point the Spartans would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game, coming back for the 83-75 win. The Spartans scored 26 points in the final period, while holding the Eagles to just 14 points.
 
Down by 17 to start the second quarter, the Spartans used a 12-2 run to pull within five points with 6:25 left in the first half. The Eagles answered with a 10-5 run to end the half, pushing their lead back to double-digits with the score at 42-32.

The beginning of the game didn't start too kindly for the Spartans, with the Eagles jumping out to a 30-13 lead at the end of the first period. The Eagles went 9-of-18 (50%) in the first and were lights out from deep, shooting 4-of-7 (57.1%) from behind the arc. The Spartans had 10 turnovers in the first period, which led to 11 points off turnovers for the Eagles.
 
James shot 12-of-18 from the floor for her 36 points, and she also added nine rebounds and four assists. Thomas was the Spartans second leading scorer with 18 points, while adding 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Shekinah Howard had a huge presence off the bench, going 3-of-4 from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown to score 11 points. Ta'Liyah Edmonds played just nine minutes in the second half, but had a huge impact defensively in the paint leading the team with a 14 +/-.

As a team the Spartans shot an efficient 28-of-51 (54.9%) from the field, and had their best performance of the year from behind the arc by shooting 8-of-15 (53.3%) from downtown. The Spartans did struggle with turnovers, giving the ball up 23 times compared to the Eagles 11. N.C. Central had a slight edge in points off turnovers and second chance points, but the Spartans' bench outscored the Eagles' bench 18-9. In the second half, the Spartans outscored the Eagles 51-33.

The Spartans return to Echols Hall for a three-game homestand starting with Delaware State on February 8