Saturday, February 18, 2012

NSU takes Long road to OT victory; Hampton stifles UMES

Norfolk State 78, Delaware State 73 (OT): Hard to imagine a more interestingly triumphant Senior Day than the one enjoyed by NSU's Whitney Long. The Spartans star and leading scorer missed all six of her shots in a first half than ended with the Spartans trailing by nine. When play resumed in the second half, Long was on the bench. She stayed there until the first media timeout (15:26), at which point NSU's deficit was 20. Upon her return, Long promptly missed shots No. 7 and 8. Then, with 14:25 remaining, Long stripped the ball from DSU's Tasia Bristow and went coast-to-coast for a layup. And the rest is Norfolk State history. Long had 25 points and five steals over the five 14-plus minutes of regulation, then added two more points and another steal in overtime as the Spartans (10-14, 5-8 MEAC) completed a remarkable comeback against the hapless Hawks (5-20, 2-10). Long's 27 points for the game were the most by an NSU player this season, while Batavia Owens (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Rae Corbo (15 points) also came up big. In addition, Tyisha Bridges, who like Long was honored as a departing senior, chipped in nine points as the Spartans, who have been on the wrong end of this blowing second-half leads business quite a few times this season, made someone else feel that pain for a change. Now, we can't help but wonder, exactly how did the Spartans get in so deep a hole against a Delaware State team they beat by 18 points just two weeks ago in the Hawks' own building? But given the way things turned out Saturday, we'll withdraw the question.

In other MEAC action:

Hampton 47, Maryland-Eastern Shore 29: No, we're not reading from the halftime box. This is what happens when the Lady Pirates (19-4, 11-1 MEAC) clamp down defensively, which is precisely what they've been doing to MEAC foes during their current four-game winning streak. One week ago, Norfolk State squeezed out just 46 points a games Hampton; Delaware State could manage only 33 the game before that. And now this - a season-low points allowed total in which the Hornets (9-15, 6-6) shot just 7 field goals and 15.9 percent from the field. Hampton didn't exactly light things up from the floor, either. But when the opposing team only makes seven baskets the whole game, you really don't have to. With the victory, the Lady Pirates kept pace with Florida A&M atop the MEAC standings. FAMU dispatched Savannah State 58-45 to also improve to 11-1 in the conference. The co-leaders will meet Saturday in Tallahassee. Also, Howard (20-7, 12-2) got a 3-pointer with six seconds left from Tamoria Holmes to vault past Coppin State 50-49. The Lady Bison have won 7 straight and 19 of 21 games since Dec. 3, with the only two losses over that span coming to Hampton.

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