PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Offense was at a premium Thursday evening at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, and the Hampton University women’s basketball team emerged from the scrum with a 45-42 win over Drexel in the first round of the WNIT.
The Lady Pirates (19-12) advance to the second round, where they will face West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
While others struggled to find their groove on offense, junior guard Ryan Jordan (Manassas, Va.) found hers, going 9-for-18 from the floor to score a game-high 19 points – all while also grabbing nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas (Harrisburg, Pa.) added 13 points.
Redshirt junior forward Brielle Ward (Baltimore, Md.) grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.
Hampton shot just 29.3 percent (17-for-58) from the floor and hit just two of its 13 3-pointers and nine of its 17 free throws. Despite that, and the fact that Drexel held a 39-34 edge in rebounds, the Lady Pirates turned the Dragons over 29 times.
The Lady Pirates also outscored Drexel 26-14 in the paint.
Drexel (20-11) held a 41-38 lead with 3:00 remaining, before Tate-DeFreitas made it a one-point game 50 seconds later with a layup. Ward followed with a layup with 1:27 left to give Hampton the lead at 42-41.
Senior guard Kyani White (Manassas, Va.) added two free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Lady Pirates up 44-41.
Drexel couldn’t get off a decent-looking shot in the closing seconds, and though Carrie Alexander hit a free throw with five seconds left to make it a 44-42 game, the Dragons couldn’t get any closer, and Tate-DeFreitas clinched the game with a free throw with three seconds left.
That was in stark contrast to the beginning of the second half; though Hampton held a 25-21 lead at the half, Drexel emerged from the break to go on a 13-2 run, taking a 34-27 lead with 11:38 left after Rachel Pearson hit a three.
Jordan answered with a layup at the 10:51 mark to end the run, but that wound up being Hampton’s first field goal of the second half.
Sarah Curran hit two free throws with 9:03 left to put Drexel up 36-29 before the Lady Pirates began methodically chipping away at the advantage. All told, Hampton shot 22.6 percent (7-for-31) in the second half.
Jordan scored 14 of her 19 points in the first half, helping the Lady Pirates establish a lead even as points were difficult to come by. Her jumper at the 10:29 mark gave the Lady Pirates a 14-9 lead, and she later put Hampton up 18-13 with a jumper at the 6:37 mark.
A Jordan layup with 1:17 left in the half gave Hampton its largest lead of the game at 25-19.
Drexel shot 42.1 percent (16-for-38) from the floor but made just one of eight 3-pointers.
Curran and Jackie Schluth led the Dragons with eight points each.