NORFOLK, Va. - The Delaware State University women's basketball team opened the second half with a 9-0 run and led by as much as 20 points but slowly crumbled as Norfolk State's Whitney Long scored 27 points, all in the second half of the game and in overtime, to lead the Spartans to a 78-73 victory in overtime Saturday at NSU's Joseph Echols Hall.
The Lady Hornets shot just 11.1 percent (1-for-9) from the field in the overtime period compared to 60 percent (3-of-5) from the Spartans en route to the loss.
Junior Kianna D'Oliveira (Newport News, Va.) opened overtime for Del State (5-20 overall, 2-10 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) with a steal that led to two free throws from sophomore Deanna Harmon (Owings Mills, Md.) to give DSU a 67-65 lead. Norfolk State responded with six straight points, all from Rae Corbo, to go up, 71-67.
The Spartans held all of the momentum in the extra period and went up by as much as six with 39 seconds remaining. A layup from D'Oliveira cut things to four at 77-73, but despite two missed free throws from Recca Trice, the Lady Hornets were unable to score another basket. A free throw from Corbo with eight seconds left sealed the game for Norfolk State as they improve their season record to 10-14 and 5-8 in the MEAC.
Up 34-25 at halftime, Delaware State took a 20-point lead with 15:26 on the clock in the second half and held the Spartans scoreless until a jumper from Long at the 14:23 mark put things at 45-27 in favor of the Lady Hornets. Long followed up with a 3-pointer and scored 14 of the Spartans next 18 points over a five-minute span.
Over the same time period, DSU scored just five points, all free throws from sophomore Tasia Bristow (Baltimore, Md.).
The Lady Hornets struggled with the Norfolk State press as the Spartans forced 13 turnovers in the second half.
Long, one of two NSU seniors in their final home game in a Spartan uniform, single-handedly pushed the Spartans into overtime as she scored 25 points in the second half.
NSU cut things to two at 53-51 with a free throw from Trice with just over six minutes left in the game. A Bristow layup and free throw from Harmon put Delaware State back up by five with 5:13 on the clock, but a jumper and trey from Tyisha Bridges tied the game at 56-56 with 4:24 remaining.
The two teams exchanged points over the waning minutes and redshirt freshman Tierra Hawkins (Clinton, Md.) gave the Lady Hornets a two-point lead at 65-63 with a layup at 0:13 and force a Norfolk State timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Long came up with her own layup to tie things and force the game into overtime.
Through the first 12 minutes of the game, Del State and NSU held things pretty even. With less than eight minutes left in the first half, the Lady Hornets found a spark and went up by 10 at 31-21 with 3:32 on the clock. A basket from behind the arc from freshman Chelsea Dukes (Baltimore, Md.) gave DSU an 11-point lead before a tip-in from Batavia Owens brought the game to 34-25 to go into the half.
The Lady Hornets had double figure scoring from three players with Bristow posting a team-high 19 points. Harmon collected 16 for Delaware State while Hawkins tallied 15. Hawkins has scored in double figures in 21 of DSU's 25 games this season.
D'Oliveira recorded a team-high eight rebounds while freshman Nadirah Durr (Avenel, N.J.) collected a career- and team-season-high four blocks.
Owens, who fouled out of the game, posted the game's lone double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Hornets play their final regular season road game Monday as they travel to Hampton University to take on the Lady Pirates at 6 p.m. at the HU Convocation Center.