Hampton Lady Pirates Beat Howard for MEAC Crown
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The Hampton Lady Pirates beat the Howard Lady Bison 59-38 for their fourth straight Mid Athletic Conference title in front of a capacity crowd of 4,000 at the Scope in Norfolk, Va.
The 28-5 Lady Pirates (17-0 in the MEAC) came out on fire on both ends of the court shooting a blistering 65 percent in the first half and shutting down Howard to a season low of 38 points. Hampton also dominated on the glass with a 41-35 edge.
"We've hung our hats on defense all year," Six said after the Lady Pirates won their 19th straight, becoming the first MEAC team to go through the regular season unbeaten and also win the conference tournament since Coppin State in 2006. "I thought defensively, we were able to get control of the game."
MEAC’s Player of the Year Keiara Avant controlled the boards snatching down nine rebounds and putting in 12 points. She also received another piece of hardware as MEAC Most Valuable Player. Bison’s Saadia Doyle, the leading scorer in MEAC history with 2,304 points, finished with nine points on 2-of-9 shooting. She averages 20.6. Senior guard and MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Olivia Allen led the team in scoring with points, while Alyssa Bennett, MEAC Defensive Player of the Year poured in 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Nicole Hamilton chipped in with 10 points, knocking down a few timely three pointers to help seal the deal.
Based on their record and relentless style of basketball, the Lady Pirates will be a force to reckoned with in the NCAA tournament.
"We don't control what the NCAA does, but I think given the seed we deserve, we're dangerous," said Six, MEAC Coach of the Year.
He later added that he thinks the Lady Pirates deserve better than the traditional 15 or 16 awarded the MEAC champion, especially with victories against the likes of LSU and Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference, and another against Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference. "I don't think we're a 15 of a 16 seed. I think 13 is fair."