NORFOLK, Va., (MEAC) – Cedricka Sweeting and Victoria Nguyen scored 16 points apiece as fourth-seeded Florida A&M defeated fifth-seeded Norfolk State 80-73 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon.
FAMU (13-18) advances now to face top-seeded Bethune-Cookman in a 12 p.m. semifinal on Friday.
Norfolk State set up shop in the paint in the first quarter scoring all 18 points in the paint with Kayla Roberts hitting a layup with 51 seconds left to lead 24-16. NSU (15-15) hit 11-of-16 from the field in the opening 10 minutes (68.8 percent).
The Spartans pushed the lead to as much as 14 points on the strength of a 14-0 run over a nearly three minute span as Jordan Strode hit a pair of free throws to lead 36-22 with 4:10 left. Six straight points by the Rattlers got them back into the contest with a jumper by Shai Burney-Robinson to trail 36-28 with 2:51 left in the half.
Norfolk State kept a 10-point lead through the first five minutes of the third quarter as Roberts hit a layup to lead 50-40 with 4:58 left in the third. FAMU scored the next eight points to trail 50-48 with four minutes left on a 3-pointer from Dawn King. A layup from Shakerrya Morrison to just beat the third quarter buzzer brought the Rattlers within striking distance at 56-55.
In the fourth, FAMU caught fire from the floor hitting 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) and all four of their 3-point shots as they used a 9-0 spurt over a two minute span to lead 80-66 with 39 seconds left on a pair of Nguyen free throws.
Florence Ouattara joined Sweeting and Nguyen in double figures for FAMU with 15 points. The Rattlers were 26-of-67 from the floor (38.8 percent) and hit 9-of-21 from 3-point land (42.9 percent). They out-rebounded Norfolk State 49-39 and held a 23-16 advantage on the offensive boards.
Five Spartans were in double figures with Strode leading pouring in 15 points and six boards, while Roberts and Dominique Harper had 12 points each. Shayla Tanner added 11 and Gabrielle Swinson had 10 points, eight boards and eight assists.