Courtesy of Brian Howard, Asst. AD/Communications
NORFOLK, Va. | Norfolk State University head women’s basketball coach Larry Vickers was selected the HBCU National Coach of the Year by BOXTOROW, the organization announced on Wednesday.
In addition to Vickers’ honor, Camille Downswas selected to the HBCU BOXTOROW All-America First Team, while teammate Deja Francis was named to the second team.
Vickers, who just completed his eighth season at Norfolk State, guided the Spartans to their second consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) regular season championship and the program’s first women’s conference tournament championship in more than 20 years. He recorded the double feat by garnering the MEAC Coach of the Year and MEAC Tournament’s Outstanding Coach of the Year honors.
Norfolk State went 26-7 overall this past season and 11-3 inside the MEAC. The Spartans defeated South Carolina State and North Carolina Central before edging Howard, 56-52, in the MEAC Tournament title game. NSU earned the conference’s automatic qualifier and was selected a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament before falling in the opening round to overall top seed South Carolina.
In addition, Vickers has guided the team to tops in the country in two statistically NCAA Division I categories, scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.
Downs, who repeated as the MEAC’s Defensive Player of the Year, earned back-to-back HBCU BOXTOROW All-America First Team honors as she led the Spartans in scoring (11.7 points) and steals (3.4). She ranks fifth nationally in steals and steals per game.The Fredericksburg, Va. native finished with 19 double-digit scoring games, including a season-high 25 points as Norfolk State clinched the MEAC regular season title at North Carolina Central. Also, Downs recorded season highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (six) against North Carolina Central, and registered six steals three times (Penn State, South Carolina State and Maryland Eastern Shore).
Francis, who named to the HBCU BOXTOROW All-America First Team last season, averaged 10.8 points, 3.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
The Queens, N.Y. native registered 17 double-digit scoring games, including a season-high 21 points twice (Virginia-Lynchburg and Chicago State). She dished out a season-high 10 assists in a win over Virginia-Lynchburg and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament against top-ranked South Carolina.
Howard’s Destiny Howell and Alabama State’s Ayana Emmanuel were named HBCU BOXTOROW National Co-Players of the Year.