NORFOLK (WAVY) – The Norfolk State women’s basketball team will play its first NCAA Tournament game in 21 years on Friday when the Spartans tip-off against the top overall seed, South Carolina.
NSU earned a 16 seed after defeating Howard in the MEAC championship game at Scope on Saturday.
The Spartans (26-6) won the regular season championship as well and are led by MEAC coach of the year Larry Vickers as well as the conference defensive player of the year Camille Downs.
South Carolina (32-0) however comes into the game as one the best teams in the history of the sport.
Led by legendary coach Dawn Staley, South Carolina are the defending national champions and have won 38 games in a row.
Today, Gamecocks power forward Aliyah Boston was named a first-time All-American for the third time in her career, joining a list of eight other players to accomplish that feat three times.
South Carolina is favored by 49.5 points.
Here’s reaction from some of the Spartans about playing the top overall seed in the tournament.
Head coach Larry Vickers: “You want to challenge yourself against the best. We’re looking to get national exposure and there’s no better way to get exposure than playing the number one team in the country.”
Sophomore guard Niya Fields: “They look like a pretty good team, but every team has there faults. We’re just coming in to play our game and leave everything on the court and just play our game, that’s it. It’s more us than them.”
Sophomore forward Kierra Wheeler: “I don’t think anything is impossible. It’s March Madness, that’s what we are here for. Me and my teammates are gonna go out there and play hard. If we happen to be one of those history making teams then we’ve got nothing but excitement.”
Senior guard Camille Downs: “Honestly it’s an honor to play against them. Not many teams can say they played against them. Just having Dawn Staley scout us for us a few days. It’s March Madness, anything is possible, especially when you don’t give up.”
Tip off is Friday at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN.