NORFOLK, Va., — Destiny Howell poured in a career-high 25 points to lead Howard University to 61-44 win over Norfolk State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament championship at the Scope Arena.
The Bison receive the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA and await the pairings for the NCAA tournament.
“I’m so proud of our team and Howard University,” head coach Ty Grace said. “We were locked in from Day One. We never forgot about last year. Our kids remember crying in that loss while North Carolina A&T celebrated.”
The Bison (20-9), the No. 1 seed, bolted out to an early 15-10 first-quarter lead on the scoring of Howell, who led all scorers in the frame with five points.
“Howell is a player that can score on every play,” Grace, the tournament’s Outstanding Coach, said. “I am so proud of her and how she performed on a big stage.”
The second-seeded Spartans (17-11) stayed close and trailed 29-22 at the half. Howell led the way with 14 points as no player on either team was able to get untracked offensively. She converted seven of 17 from the floor while gathering six rebounds, dealing out two assists and adding a block and two steals.
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“My teammates kept trying to feed me the ball in positions where I could be effective,” Howell, the tournament’s most outstanding player. ”It was a team victory, for sure.”
Howell was a freshman last season and knows the pain of that bitter defeat to NC A&T.
“We all felt that pain when they were celebrating after we got so close,” she said. “We were determined to not let that happen this time.”
Howard broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter, using a 27-14 blitz to pull away and earn its first title since 2001.
The Bison have won 11 titles overall.
During that fourth-quarter spurt, Brooklyn Fort-Davis, Krislyn Marsh, Kaniya Harris and Anzhane’ Hutton got into the act.
In addition to Howell’s scoring, the Bison defense played a major role, limiting the Spartans to 23 percent shooting (15-for-65) while dominating the boards by a decided 48-30 advantage.
“Congratulations to the Bison of Howard University,” Spartans head coach Larry Vickers said. “They were consistently good all year. They came in here and played an awesome game We wish them the best in the tournament.”
Norfolk State was led by Diawara Makoye and Camile Downs, who scored 11 and 10, respectively.