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Bennett leads Hampton over Howard in MEAC quarterfinals < All News
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
NORFOLK, Va. – Hampton Alyssa Bennett scored 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the top-seeded Lady Pirates to a 71-55 victory over eighth-seeded Howard in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) women’s basketball quarterfinal contest at the Scope Arena Wednesday afternoon.

In helping Hampton win its 16th consecutive game, Bennett was 10-for-19 from the field and 10-for-14 from the foul line. It was Bennett’s 13th double-double of the season. Bennett’s scoring and rebounding total fell one shy of her career standards in both categories.

Bennett had help as Malia Tate-DeFreitas scored 19 points and Kenia Cole added 11 points for Hampton (26-4 overall). Brielle Ward also had 10 rebounds for Hampton, which out-rebounded Howard, 50-44.

Victoria Gonzalez led Howard with 16 points. Shavonne Duckett (11 points) and Te’Shya Heslip (10) also reached double digits for the Bison (11-20). Cheyenne Brown had 12 rebounds to lead Howard.

“It was a tough, tough game,” Hampton coach David Six said. “They’re one of the few teams in the MEAC that’s smaller than we are, so it’s very hard for us to match up with them [Howard] defensively. We kind of woke up in the second half and got the butterflies out.”

The Lady Pirates used a 25-4 run over a seven-minute stretch of the second half to advance to Friday’s semifinals against the winner of the Savannah State-Florida A&M contest. Hampton made two of its three 3-pointers during the game-clinching burst that started with a Bennett foul shot with 10:35 remaining.

The eighth-seeded Bison battled and trailed, 44-40, with 11:05 remaining in the contest following a pair of Cabria Johnson foul shots. From there the game belonged to Hampton. After Bennett’s foul shot, Cole drained a 3-pointer to get the Lady Pirates started. Bennett crammed 13 of her points into Hampton’s decisive run.

“I didn’t feel pressure at all,” Bennett said. “I just felt I needed to get inside and make more shots.”

When Bennett finished scoring, Tate-DeFreitas ended the run in style with a pair of layups that brought the crowd out of its seats. Her final basket of the game, an over the shoulder reverse layup, extended Hampton’s bulge to 69-44 with 4:10 remaining. Tate-DeFreitas scored 10 of her points in the opening half to help Hampton to a 31-24 halftime lead.

Although Hampton never trailed, the Lady Pirates couldn’t shake the Bison, who were within, 36-34, with 16:21 remaining following a pair of Victoria Gonzalez foul shots.

During the first half, Howard absorbed a 15-0 Hampton salvo that turned a slim 9-8 edge into a 24-8 advantage with 8:53 remaining. Even though the Bison were slightly shaken, they answered by holding the Lady Pirates to four points over a six-minute stretch to pull to within, 28-24 with 2:19 remaining following a Duckett layup.

Heslip had the play of the half when she came down the court on a fast break and executed an exquisite spin-move in the paint and laid the ball in using her right hand. Following that move, there were plenty of oohs and ahs from the crowd.

“We let it get away from us in the second half,” Howard coach Tennille Adams said. “I thought Hampton did a really good job on defense, and it’s hard to compete with their offensive rebounding. It’s a tough loss, but I don’t feel as bad as I probably should. I’m looking forward to the future here with the Bison.”
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