Courtesy of Alex Lehmbeck, Asst. SID, Norfolk State Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State women’s basketball struggled to get shots to fall, but came away with the only stat that mattered on Monday: a victory. The Spartans (7-1) pulled out a 54-42 victory over Campbell (3-3), extending their win streak to six games.
Deja Francis led the Spartans with 16 points, making 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) from the free throw line. Kierra Wheeler, despite playing limited minutes due to foul trouble, racked up 15 points and 10 rebounds, her fourth double-double of the season.
The Spartans opened the night on an 13-2 run, capped off by a Chrystal White corner 3-pointer and a Makoye Diawaralayup through contact. White’s deep ball would be the Spartans’ only successful attempt from behind the arc on Monday.
Campbell’s Shy Tuelle scored the Fighting Camel’s first points in over seven minutes with a 3-pointer, her first of the night. She finished with a game-high 18 points, adding nine rebounds for the road Camels.
Mahoganie Williams slid her way through the paint with a crafty turnaround hook shot, before Francis made a pair of free throws to put NSU ahead 17-5 at the end of the first quarter. The Spartans shot 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from the floor in the opening period, while allowing the Fighting Camels to convert only one of their eight field goal attempts (12.5 percent).
Wheeler converted a layup through contact with a foul to start the second quarter, before Alana Swift knocked down a mid-range jumper to push the Spartans ahead by 17, the largest lead NSU would acquire on Monday. Campbell would hit a few open shots to trim the gap, but Francis converted an acrobatic floater in the final seconds of the half, giving NSU a 28-15 advantage.
Campbell heated up from deep in the third quarter, while Norfolk State went cold. The Fighting Camels hit three 3-pointers in the period, while NSU made just 1-of-11 shots from the floor. The draught helped the visitors pull within six heading into the final quarter.
The Spartans scored the first three points of the fourth quarter, but a pair of jumpers from Tuelle got the Fighting Camels back into the game. A successful trip to the free throw line by Christabel Ezumah Campbell within two points, the closest it would get to completing the comeback.
Wheeler, playing carefully with four fouls, knocked down a mid-range shot to give NSU some breathing room, before Francis drained her own elbow jumper shortly after. Williams added a quick shot from the baseline, before Diawara hit a pair of free throws to put NSU ahead by 10 in the final minutes.
Francis stepped up to the charity stripe in the final minute on separate occasions, sinking all four attempts to put the game away. It marked the first time this season that Francis, the MEAC’s leader in free throw percentage last year, made 10 free throws in a game.
Next Game: Hampton 12/1/2022 | 6 p.m. WNSB 91.1 FM