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Hampton U women throttle N.C. Central 51to30, finish MEAC unbeaten
Hampton U women throttle N.C. Central 51to30, finish MEAC unbeaten

Hampton University concluded the uniformed scrimmage portion of the schedule and now prepares to pursue its second goal.

The Lady Pirates dusted undermanned N.C. Central 51-30 Thursday at the HU Convocation Center for their 16th consecutive win, and they became the first team to go unbeaten in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play in six years and the first HU team to do so.

"It's amazing," said senior wing Keiara Avant. "As a Division I program to go 16-0, undefeated, it's a significant accomplishment because it's never been done."

Hampton (25-5, 16-0 MEAC) already had clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's MEAC tournament, where it seeks a fourth consecutive title and NCAA berth. Coppin State was the last league team to go unbeaten in the regular season, in 2007.

Avant (22 points, 10 rebounds) was the only HU player in double figures. Olivia Allen added nine points, and Alyssa Bennett scored six.

Hampton wasn't at its sharpest, but didn't need to be against an NCCU (2-27, 2-14 MEAC) team with just seven players and ranked 343rd and last in Division I in scoring, shooting, 3-pointers made and assist-to-turnover ratio. The Eagles' best chance was for a sinkhole to open under the HU bench and swallow its players.

"I thought it was kind of a mediocre night," Avant said. "We didn't really come out with a lot of energy. I'm not really sure what it was. With all the seniors, we wanted to play hard because it was the last home game, but we definitely need to play better at the tournament."

The only drama was whether the Lady Pirates would set a scoring defense record. The fewest points they had ever allowed was 26 in a win against Winston-Salem State on Feb. 8, 2010. NCCU surpassed that on Chasidy Williams' jump shot with 1:24 remaining. The Eagles finished with nearly as many turnovers (25) as points.

HU held its final two opponents to 30 or fewer points and its last three under 40. Bethune-Cookman managed just 28 points in a 74-28 loss on Monday. The Lady Pirates' last six opponents averaged just 37.8 points per game, and their average margin of victory was 27.8 points.

HU head coach David Six was unimpressed after his team shot just 36.2 percent from the field and had eight baskets in the second half. The Lady Pirates also were outrebounded by NCCU 38-33.

"Obviously, we wanted to win the game and we did that," he said. "But we definitely wanted a better effort."

Predictably, the Lady Pirates put away the game early. N.C. Central's first 11 possessions ended with a turnover and HU scored the game's first 15 points.

Williams scored NCCU's first points at the 11:23 mark. Hampton led by as much as 25-5 before settling for a 31-13 cushion at halftime.

A case can be made that HU should have been further ahead, but the Lady Pirates' offensive execution was spotty and they shot only 42 percent (13-for-31). Avant led with 13 points, but her teammates hit only 7 of 22 shots.

Hampton extended the lead to 44-17 at the midpoint of the second half and simply maintained the final 10 minutes.

"We've had a great year," Six said. "That's 16 games in a row. If you win 16 in a row, there's going to be some nights when you're not at your best, but great teams find a way to win. So I'm happy about that. But now everybody's 0-0."

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