SC State Women Win First MEAC Game

ORANGEBURG, SC (SCSU SID) -– Every since missing what would have been a game-winning layup at Delaware State Jan. 11, South Carolina State sophomore Whitney Wiley had been looking for redemption. It came Monday night as the Columbia native made a layup with 2.9 seconds left to lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 74-73 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win over visiting Norfolk State. In a game in which the lead changed hands on the game’s last five possessions, Recca Trice had given the Lady Spartans a 73-72 lead on a layup with 9.3 seconds on the clock. In almost identical fashion as at Dover exactly two weeks ago, Wiley took the inbounds pass and drove the length of the court, this time making the winning basket. “I had to make it (the shot),” said an elated Wiley after the game. “I had to make up for Delaware State when I had the same opportunity to win the game but didn’t. I owed it to my teammates, the coaches and our fans. “Finally winning a conference game is kind of overwhelming,” she continued. “It was long overdue. We really should have won a lot more games. SC State head coach Doug Robertson was also happy for the win and was glad to see Wiley redeem herself. “I’m glad for the players,” Robertson said. It’s ironic that we had the exact situation at Delaware State a couple of weeks ago; the same person (Wiley) and the same kind of shot. This time she finished (made the shot). I’m happy for Wiley. “But, our ‘unsung hero’ tonight,” he continued was Mary Baker. She came off the bench and gave us a big lift. She had played only sparingly on the road before tonight when we asked her to play multiple roles for us and she came through.” Wiley finished with eight points, all in the second half, and six rebounds for SC State, which captured its first MEAC contest of the season and snapped a five-game losing streak. Sophilia Hipps had 15 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Lady Bulldogs, while freshman Paris Alston added nine points six boards for Robertson’s team, which improved to 6-12 and 1-5 in the league. Whitney Long had 13 points to lead four players in double figures for Norfolk State, which remained winless in the MEAC at 0-6 and fell to 3-12 overall. Batavia Owens added 11 points and nine rebounds, while Marian Brooks and Tyisha Bridges added 10 each in the loss. Norfolk State led by as many as 11 points in the first half before settling for a 40-34 advantage at intermission. The Spartans’ Long canned a 3-pointer to start the second half and give the visitors a 43-34 advantage before reserves Mary Baker and Tiara Knotts ignited a 16-5 Lady Bulldog rally that put SC State ahead 50-48 on Baker’s inside basket with 11:37 remaining. Both she and Knotts had four points during the run. The Lady Bulldog Spartans put together a rally of their own to build a 68-63 edge with 3:10 showing, but SC State regained the lead, a 70-69, on Wiley’s short jumper with 1:14 left. Payne drove the baseline for a layup and a 71-70 Norfolk lead with just 58 ticks left on the clock, but Hipps got inside for a layup for SC State and a 72-71 host lead with 35.3 remaining, setting up the finish. The Lady Bulldogs return to action Saturday at Daytona Beach against Bethune-Cookman in the first game of an MEAC doubleheader at 2 p.m.