Title Image via Niya Grant
Courtesy of Alex Lehmbeck, Asst. SID, Norfolk State Athletics
The Norfolk State women’s basketball team collected a home-opener win on Thursday, their fourth consecutive win at Echols Hall dating back to last season, but this one came a little earlier than most.
The Spartans (4-0) defeated Appalachian State (2-1) 67-53 in an early tip-off, the game starting at 11 a.m. for Education Day, with thousands of children in the stands to support the home team.
Point guard tandem Nya Fields and Da’Brya Clark led the Spartans with 14 points each against the Mountaineers, while Kierra Wheeler recorded her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Spartans got off to a slow start in the morning, giving up several quick scores from outside. A Makenzie Drout 3-pointer pushed Appalachian State ahead 13-8 midway through the first quarter.
Another Mountaineer long ball expanded that lead to six, but that would be the largest deficit Norfolk State would face. A Clark and-one in the closing seconds of the first quarter tied the game at 18-18.
App State knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second period, but back-to-back scores from Anjanae Richardsonand Fields gave Norfolk State a one-point advantage, and the Spartans built on that cushion with consecutive scores from Clark and Mullins shortly after.
But App State wouldn’t go away that early. The Mountaineers scored the last four points of the first half, trimming Norfolk State’s advantage to two at the break.
Taking the floor to start the second half, Clark got things going right away with a mid-range jumper. The Mountaineers retook the lead briefly with a 3-pointer in the third quarter, but Fields and Clark continued to produce points in the paint to put Norfolk State back in front.
Richardson knocked down a crucial shot from behind the arc late in the third quarter, and back-to-back fourth quarter scores by Kierra Wheeler gave NSU a double-digit advantage for the first time of the afternoon.
Fields drained a 3-pointer to keep the momentum going, before Richardson sped down the court for a fastbreak layup, increasing the Norfolk State lead to 15 in the final minutes.
Checking The Box Score
- Niya Fields and Da’Brya Clark led NSU with 14 points each
- Kierra Wheeler posted her first double-double of the season, recording 13 points and 12 rebounds
- Wheeler also tallied a team-high four steals
- The Spartans shot 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) from the floor, holding the Mountaineers to a 15-of-51 (29.4 percent) rate
- NSU and Appalachian State each recorded 40 total rebounds
- There were six lead changes in Thursday’s game
- Norfolk State’s bench outscored App State’s 27-22
News & Notes
- Norfolk State improved to 4-0 with the win
- The Spartans are now 2-1 against App State in the all-time series, with both wins coming in the last two seasons
- Thursday’s game was Education Day, as thousands of elementary and middle schoolers attended the event as a field trip with their respective institutions
- Norfolk State’s four wins have come against two Coastal Athletic Association (William & Mary, Drexel), one Sun Belt (App State), and one Big South (Radford) opponent
Norfolk State faces a highly-anticipated rivalry matchup next, battling Hampton on the road on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
Next Game: at Hampton University 11/19/2023 | 2 p.m.