Lady Bears defeat Lady Bulldogs 66-53 in quarterfinal round of MEAC Tournament

Morgan’s women’s basketball team advances to the semifinal round of MEAC Tournament.


Kristian Reynolds

The Lady Bears will return to the Norfolk Scope Arena on Friday at 2 p.m. as they face the No. 2-seed Norfolk State Spartans in the semifinals.

Julien Johnson, Contributing Writer

NORFOLK, Va. – Morgan State women’s basketball team put South Carolina State’s offense in a chokehold by forcing bad passes, getting steals and holding it to poor shooting from the field.

They never stopped.

And for that hustle, the reward was the No. 3-seeded Lady Bears (18-7 overall) advancing to the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament with a 66-53 victory.

They’ll face the No. 2 seed Norfolk State Lady Spartans on Friday at Scope Arena at 2 p.m.

Morgan advanced to its third straight MEAC Tournament semifinal game with a five-game winning streak. 

The Lady Bears started off slow, but after taking a 9-7 lead with 1:50 left remaining in the first quarter, they never trailed again.

Despite starting off cold, their defense was an essential factor that kept them in the game. 

For the game, the Lady Bears held the Lady Bulldogs to 21 for 59 shooting from the field and forced 29 turnovers, scoring 25 points off those turnovers. Of those 29 turnovers, 14 were steals. 

Senior guard Jayla Atmore had five steals to go along with 12 points. Ja’Niah Henson led all scorers with 13 points. Senior forward Charlene Shepherd added 12 points in a team-high 31 minutes, grabbing five rebounds and plucking two steals.

“Defense is all about pride and heart,” Shepherd said. “I feel like as a team we showcase that every game.” 

Shepherd showed pride and heart as she dove out of bounds to try to get a steal even though they were up 65-50 with less than 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Morgan coach Edward Davis said his team had some reckless moments but remembered the importance of their defense. He added that substituting players correctly down the stretch will make a difference. 

But he harped on hard-nosed defense. 

“Your rotations on defense, your loose balls, your 50/50 balls… all are very important in every game, especially in tournament situations,” Davis said. “So there is a lot of emphasis on us to play as much intense defense as you can.”

Davis said Morgan finds itself in a critical semifinal game where they have an opportunity to collect 19 wins – the most wins in a season since the 2007-08 season.

The Lady Bears return to the Norfolk Scope Arena on Friday at 2 p.m. as they face the No. 2-seed Norfolk State Spartans.