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Hampton women roll on to another MEAC crown
Hampton women roll on to another MEAC crown

Another year, another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title.

Hampton continued its dominating league run Saturday afternoon with its fourth straight championship, a 59-38 trouncing of Howard.

Coach David Six's squad is undefeated in the tournament and 55-2 against MEAC opposition since his arrival.

"It never gets old," said Six, who is in his fourth season. "Your goal when you start is to play in the NCAA tournament."

The Lady Pirates (28-5) claimed their latest title in the style that's been typical this season: an athletically overpowering offense and airtight defense.

Howard (20-11) was stifled from the outset, falling behind 8-1 run to start the contest and ending almost as badly, shooting 21.4 percent (12 of 56) from the floor.

Hampton, meanwhile, shot 46.5 percent (20 of 43), and despite hoisting 13 fewer shots than the Lady Bison, dominated the scoreline.

"Just being patient with our offense was kind of what got us going together," senior Keiara Avant, the MEAC Player of the Year and a former star at Chesapeake's Indian River High, said after the 99th win of her career.

"I'm truly blessed. To win four MEAC championships in a row, that's never been done at Hampton University."

Sophomore forward Alyssa Bennett played big on both ends, scoring 14 points - nine in the first half - and limiting Howard's Saadia Doyle, who came in averaging 20.6 points per game, to nine points and a 2-of-9 line from the floor.

"Whenever we play them, it's always aggressive - aggressive from start to finish," Doyle said. "When we're on the defense, then they come at you and you don't retaliate, it makes it twice as hard to come back and it makes the game extremely difficult.

"I think that's what it comes down to."

Olivia Allen (16 points), Avant (12) and Nicole Hamilton (10) also scored in double figures for the Lady Pirates, who finish the season 19-0 against MEAC opponents.

They are projected as a 14 seed in the NCAA tournament by ESPN, with UCLA as a potential first-round opponent.

And while Hampton will enter the tournament on a 19-game win streak, Six said his team has some parts of its game to clean up before thinking about a first-round upset. Like an 11-turnover performance by Hamilton, its point guard.

"We played tight and turned the ball over quite a bit, but we've hung our hats on defense all year," Six said. "Defensively, we were able to get control of the game."

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