MEAC Women's Basketball Tournament: Day 5 < All News
Friday, March 15, 2013

Hampton Advances to MEAC Championship Final With Win Over Coppin State

Norfolk, Va., March 15, 2013--Hampton used a 21-5 run during the second half to pull away to a 78-52 win over Coppin State in the semifinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena. 

The Lady Pirates (27-5), the number one seed and three-time defending champion, advance to Saturday’s championship game against the winner of the Howard-North Carolina A&T semifinal on Saturday at 1 pm.  The championship game will be televised on ESPNU on a tape delay basis. The broadcast will air on Sunday, March 17 at 11 a.m.

The Lady Pirates were able to establish the tempo of the game early as Kieara Avant and Nicole Hamilton combined for 22 points en route to a 37-27 lead.  Hampton shot 50-percent from the field in the first stanza.

The Lady Eagles had problems scoring the basketball and were hampered by a 33-percent shooting performance prior to the half.

Hampton was able to maintain an eight to 10 point lead through the early part of the second half until Coppin State reeled off a 16-6 run that cut the deficit to 43-40 at the 14:39 mark.  That rally was led by Kyra Coleman who scored 12 of her team-high 20 points after intermission.

From there, the game changed and Hampton began to flex its muscles as Hamilton, Olivia Allen, Avant  and Alyssa Bennett led a 21-5 run over a 10 minute stretch that put the game way.  The Lady Pirates took turns capitalizing on the Coppin State fatigue factor and their inability to score.  The quartet combined for 37 second half points while limiting the Lady Eagles to only one field goal over an eight-minute stretch.

“We found something the second half,” said Hampton Coach David Six, the 2012-13 MEAC Coach of the Year.  “We tried to run some plays for Avant, but Nikki (Nicole Hamilton) got hot and we went that way.  She played well and made some shots.  AB (Alyssa Bennett) doesn’t get enough credit but she has a great impact on our success.  And Olivia (Allen) has been doing what she did today all season.  She is our scorer.”

Hamilton, who led all scorers with 26 on 9-of- 14 shooting, keyed the run, at one point tallying eight of her team’s 10 points.

“I thought I rushed things a bit in the first half,” said Hamilton, who added six rebounds and six assists.  “In the second half, Coach talked to me and I was able to settle down and make some shots.  We moved the ball a little better and got some open looks.”

While the Hampton defense, ranked seventh in the nation, proved to be very effective, limiting Coppin State to 29-percent shooting, fatigue appeared to be a definite factor.  The Lady Eagles were coming off a tough two-point win in the quarterfinal round less than 24 hours before this game and it showed.

 “I don’t know if it was or not,” said Coppin State Coach Derek Brown, refusing to use it as an excuse.  “It came down to them making shots.”

Coleman led her team with 20 and Shawntae Payne collected seven in a losing effort for the Lady Eagles.

Avant, the MEAC Player of the Year tallied a double-double of 20 and 12, Allen with 13 and Bennett with 12.  Ariel Phelps chipped in with 7 points and 10 rebounds.

Howard Advances to MEAC Championship Game With Win Over North Carolina A&T

Norfolk, Va., March 15, 2013—Saadia Doyle poured In a game-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Howard to 55-42 win over North Carolina A&T in the semifinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC ) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena.  The Lady Bison (20-10), the number three seed, will face Hampton, the number one, for the championship on Saturday at 1 p.m.  The game will be televised on ESPNU on a tape-delay basis. The broadcast will air on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Doyle, a three-time first team All-MEAC selection, put Howard on her back and carried them from the beginning, scoring 14 of her team’s points in the first 20 minutes to give them a 22-20 lead at the half.

The 5-11 senior from Atlanta, Ga. connected on 4-of-7 from the field, including a surprising 2-of-2 from the three-point line.

“I felt a comfort zone with those shots,” said Doyle, the All-Time leading scorer in MEAC women’s basketball history with over 2,200 points.  “On the first one, I made sure that everything was right.  On the second, I got it in the corner and it felt good when it left my hands. It was not the plan to shoot the 3’s, but it ended up being a bonus.”

The game remained close early in the second half until Doyle spearheaded a 22-6 run that saw the Lady Bison open a 52-36 at the four-minute mark.  Doyle accounted for 15 of the points during the run. 

“We came out and played tough defense,” said Howard Coach Nikki Reid Geckeler.  “We have prided ourselves on it all season.  That’s why we are one of the top defensive teams in the country.”

With the defense forcing turnovers, point guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne running the show, Doyle scoring in different ways and Kara Smith and Adele Walton knocking down three-pointers, the Lady Bison proved to be too much for the Lady Aggies, who were the number 2 seed.

“I would like to first say that I am so proud of this team,” said first year North Carolina A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson.  “And then I would like to congratulate Coach Geckeler and the Lady Bison on a tremendous effort today.  They did a great job of taking away some of the things that we wanted to do.

They were able to get some 3-pointers in their transition game.  Curley -Payne did a great job of running their offense and Doyle, what can you say about her.  She is relentless and a hard worker.  It is no accident that she has had the career she has had.”

Although Doyle was able to provide offensive firepower, the Lady Bison got some much needed support from Smith and Walton, who combined for six three-pointers as the Lady Bison shot 48 -percent from beyond the arc.

“I think that Saadia’s ability to hit those three-pointers early really opened up things for us,” said Geckeler.  “Adele Walton has played well of late for us and her shooting gave us an added dimension.”

The Lady Aggies were led by JaQuayla Berry and Eboni Ross, an All-Rookie team selection, who each scored 10 points.

Smith chipped in with 11 for the Lady Bison, Walton with nine, all on three-pointers, and Curley-Payne, who had six points, added nine assists and six rebounds.

The Howard-Hampton match-up marks the third straight year that the two teams have squared off for the tournament title and the Lady Pirates have won both times, including a one-point victory last season.  Overall, Hampton has defeated Howard nine straight times, including regular-season and tournament play.


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