NORFOLK, VA — Sophomore guard Jasmine Hill scored a career-high 20 points to lead four players in double figures and help Howard University upset South Carolina State, 70-57, in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Lady Bison (4-26), the Number 12 seed, advance to the next round where they will play Norfolk State, the Number 4 seed, on Thursday at 2:30 pm.
Howard, which lost to the Number 5 Lady Bulldogs (16-12) in their only game this season in Orangeburg, SC, set the tone early in the first half as junior guard Imani Bailey came off the bench to score 10 points and Hill and sophomore forward Sydni Johnson contributed seven each. It helped the Lady Bison maintained a 34-28 lead at the half despite not having leading scorer, Victoria Gonzales, who played only seven minutes due to foul trouble.
“It was a hard-fought game and our young ladies stepped up today,” said Howard Coach Tennille Adams. “We are not our record. The toughness and competitiveness in which we play does not always show up in the win column.”
In the second half, Howard opened with a 14-9 run that opened a 48-37 lead six minutes into the second stanza.The rally was fueled by Hill, sophomore guard Allese Morrison and Johnson, who combined for 12 of the points.
From there, Howard controlled the tempo and kept the Lady Bulldogs at bay, maintaining a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
SCSU’s Kourtney Williams, Jasmine Coleman and Jazzmine Johnson took turns scoring, but each time South Carolina State would get close, Howard would have an answer.
“We didn’t expect this kind of performance from them,” noted Williams.
The Lady Bison had one of their better shooting performances of the year, hitting on 54 percent (27 of 50) for the game, including 61 percent in the second half. The Howard defense limited the Lady Bulldogs to 33 percent shooting and held a 40-33 advantage on the boards.
“Howard played extremely well,” said South Carolina State coach Doug Robertson. “They shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t defend the way we needed to. They were the better team for 40 minutes today.”
In addition to her 20 points on eight of 13 from the field, Hill added four steals and a career-high seven rebounds. Johnson added 14 points, Morrison with 10 and Bailey with 14 off the bench.
“Jasmine Hill and Imani Bailey stepped up in a big way,” said Adams. “I’m glad we have it all coming together now at tournament time.”
South Carolina State got a team-high 13 from Coleman and 10 from Amber Howard.
Courtesy: Howard Athletics