|Hampton Wins 2012 MEAC Basketball Championship||< All News|
|Saturday, March 10, 2012|
HAMPTON USES DEFENSE TO PULL OUT WIN OVER HOWARD
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 10, 2012 -- Jericka Jenkins converted two free throws and Hampton held Howard scoreless over the last 1:19 en route to a ,54-53, win over the Lady Bison in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Women’s Basketball Tournament championship finale at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The top seeded Lady Pirates (26-4) will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. They find out their opponent on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. on ESPN during the ESPN selection show.
Both teams came into the game nationally ranked in defense which dictated the game’s tempo. Howard took the early lead at 9-2 only to have Hampton rally to take a 29-21 advantage at the half. Jenkins, a senior guard and a first team All-MEAC selection, put the team on her shoulders and responded with 10 points.
The Lady Pirates, who won their third straight tournament title, upped the margin by 10 to start the second half. Howard began to work its way back in the game despite Hampton’s attempts to keep them at bay with an 8 to 10 point cushion.
“We didn’t rebound the ball well in the first half,” said Hampton Coach David Six. “We did a better job in the second half. We also had some foul trouble which created matchups that were different than when we play them. But give Howard credit. It was a great game for a championship. I think I aged 10 years.”
After the Lady Pirates took their last double digit lead at 47-37 at the 9:30 mark, the Lady Bison went on a 16-5 run over an eight-minute span to take their first lead of the second half at 53-52 on a jump shot by Tamoria Holmes with 1:35 remaining.
Jenkins was fouled and the senior, a career 80-percent free throw shooter, sank two free-throws as Hampton regained the lead at 54-53 with 1:19 left on the clock.
The Lady Bison had two more attempts to take the lead, but the Lady Pirates defense thwarted both attempts by Holmes to close out the game.
“I thought the last shot that I took had a chance,” said Holmes, who led all scorers with 20 points and was named to the All-Tournament team. “We battled back and we played hard, but we came up short.”
Neither team shot the ball well, but the Lady Pirates used a 40-28 rebounding advantage to offset the 17 turnovers they committed.
“We are usually a good rebounding team, but we lost the battle on the boards this game,” said Howard Coach Niki Reid Geckeler. Jenkins led her team with 14 points and five assists. Alyssa Bennett scored 13 points and Keiara Avant recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“In the past three years I have played, it has been a battle,” said Jenkins. “Saadia Doyle is a tough player who plays hard all the time. She gets loose balls and does other things to help her team.”
She continued. “Holmes is a great offensive player. She scores well and she is very difficult to defend.”
The Lady Bison, who tied a school record for most victories in a season, got a game-high 20 from Holmes and 16 from Doyle, who was also named to the All-Tournament team.
“We have all of our starters returning and lose only two seniors, so the future is bright for Howard women’s basketball,” said Geckeler.
The 2012 MEAC All-Tournament team included Hampton’s Jenkins, Doyle and Holmes of Howard, Antonia Bennett from Florida A&M and Jeanine Manley from Coppin State.
Hampton’s Six earned Tournament Outstanding Coach accolades and extended his conference postseason tournament streak to nine wins.