Doyle Leads Howard To Win Over Norfolk State
Winston-Salem, NC—March 8--Saadia Doyle scored a game-high 23 points to lead four players in double figures and help Howard University defeat Norfolk State, 68-56 in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference women's tournament at the Lawrence V. Joel Coliseum.
The 2011 MEAC Player of the Year, Doyle got the Lady Bison (14-17) off to a fast start, scoring 13 of her points in the first half as Howard jumped out to an early lead and hold a 40-24 advantage at the half. A 5-11 sophomore forward from Atlanta, GA, Doyle connected on 5 of 7 from the field.
"When you have the MEAC Player of the Year, a lot of teams gear their defense towards her her," said Howard Coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "She's had to come out and play against double and triple teams all season. So her fast start was huge. It set the tone for us and opened up things for the other players."
The Lady Bison, the Number 6 seed, got a nice boost from sophomore guard Adele Walton, who provided some perimeter shooting with 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field and sophomore forward Kara Smith.
"Adele is a shooter and in the first half, she loosened up things for us offensively with her outside shooting," said Coach Geckeler. "Kara gave us something also with her scoring and her rebounding. We are hopeful that they can continue to play like this the rest of the tournament."
The Lady Spartans (9-19), the Number 11 seed, were not able to stay with Howard, mostly due to their mistakes which the Lady Bison converted into scored 16 points.
Riding the scoring of sophomore guard Tamoria Holmes, the Lady Bison increased their lead to 20 in the first minute of the second half and appeared to have the game in hand.
But the Lady Spartans rallied on the scoring freshman of Rachel Gordon, junior Whitney Long and freshman Rae Corbo to reduce the lead to eight at the four-minute mark. Norfolk State's comeback attempt was fueled by the absence of Lady Bison sophomore point guard Cheyenne Curley Payne, who was forced to the bench when she picked up her fourth foul.
"We had to go man-to-man because we got a little too deep," explained Norfolk State Coach Debra Clark. "When we started making the run, we picked them up fullcourt and that generated offense for us."
But Doyle converted four free throws, Curley Payne got inside the lane for a tough basket and Holmes made an acrobatic shot with the shot clock winding down to help Howard advance to Thursday's quarterfinal round against North Carolina A&T on Thursday at 12 noon.
Doyle just missed a double double with 23 points and nine rebounds while Holmes and Curley Payne each tallied 13 and Walton contributed 10, all coming in the first half. Curley Payne also tied her career-high of eight assists.
Norfolk State was led by Corbo, who finished with a team-high 14, Gordon with 12 and Whitney Long with 10 off the bench, all coming in the second half.
Howard and North Carolina A&T split during the regular season, each winning at home.
"I think that any game this time of the season is competitive," said Geckeler. "We talk about March and it's one and done. We are coming into this game to play Howard basketball and see what happens."