NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The big out of town crowds aren't expected until later in the week, but Norfolk officials are crossing their fingers that the MEAC basketball tournament at Scope will more than justify the city's $180,000 investment.
Twenty-six men's and women's teams will play this week. There were five games Monday and five more Tuesday. Local teams (Hampton University and Norfolk State) are expected to bring the biggest crowds to downtown Norfolk this week.
"It gives our fans an opportunity to see us play in the conference championship and last time by it being in Winston-Salem many of them didn't go, but I think having the tournament here in Norfolk will be an advantage for us," NSU Athletic Director Marty Miller said.
Norfolk State's 10th seeded women's team took on 7th seed Florida A&M Tuesday.The Spartans head coach Debra Clark had her team fired up and they jumped out to an early lead on the Rattlers.
In the first half, Ava Parham drove to the middle and got the floater to fall, and Norfolk State took a commanding 13 point lead at halftime. In the second half, more of the same for the Spartans; sophomore Ebony Brown saved the ball from going out of bounds, then sets up from the wing and buried the three pointer, Brown led the way with 21 points. Moments later, the Spartans were on the fast break. They hit the trailer, Suffolk's Quinesha Leonard, for the easy layup.
"Oh it's been awesome. I can't remember a time where we were undefeated. It's just so exciting and I've been on the edge of my seat every game. We are behind them the whole way," said NSU fan Eboni Young
Norfolk State, the No. 10 seed pulled off the first upset of the tournament advancing to the quarterfinals with todays 72-55 win over Florida A&M.
They will play North Carolina A&T Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.