North Carolina A&T 63, Hampton 54
NORFOLK, Va.—North Carolina A&T State’s April McRae scored a team-high 25 points, while shooting 9-of-14 from the floor and Dana Brown added 20 points, going 12-of-14 from the free-throw line, as the second-seeded Aggies defeated third-seeded Hampton, 63-54 in the second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) semifinal game on Friday afternoon at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
N.C. A&T State (18-11) will face fourth-seeded Coppin State in Saturday’s MEAC Championship game, which will tip-off one hour after the conclusion of the men’s title game at 1 p.m. The Lady Eagles reached the title game after defeating ninth-seeded South Carolina State, 81-62 in the earlier semifinal game of the day.
N.C. A&T State and Coppin State met just this season, with Coppin State defeating the Aggies, 65-59 on Jan. 27 in Baltimore, Md. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B0115NYMH2″ locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Hampton (14-17) was led by MEAC Player of the Year, Malia Tate-DeFreitas, who scored half of the Lady Pirates points in the loss. Tate-DeFreitas registered a game-high 27 points, while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and recording a game-high three steals.
The Aggies held a six-point lead (50-44) with 4:19 left in the game, following two free-throws by McRae. Hampton pulled within two points at 52-20 after a layup by K’lynn Willis with 2:18 to play. At the 1:46 mark, McRae fouled out. Hampton’s Kaylah Lupoe would make just one-of-two free throws to cut the deficit to 52-51, but that would be as close as the Lady Pirates would get.
The Aggies, who shot 73.7-percent (28-of-38) from the charity line, scored eight straight points in part of a 10-2 run, with all their points coming from the free-throw line to increase their advantage to 60-51 with 30 seconds left to seal the game.
Hampton broke a 4-4 tie by using a 14-5 run over the remaining 6:56 of the opening quarter to take its largest lead of the game at 18-9 after the first quarter.
N.C. A&T State slowly chipped away in the second period and used a 7-0 spurt, capped off by a McRae jumper to reclaim the lead at 24-22 with 2:10 to play. The Lady Pirates would take a 27-26 lead into the locker room, following a put back jumper by Areana Davis as time expired.
The Aggies shot 16-of-49 (32.7-percent) for the game, including 3-of-9 (33 percent) from beyond the three-point arc.
Hampton finished the contest shooting 19-of-63 (30.2-percent) and 3-for-11 (27.3-percent) from three-point range. The Lady Pirates also finished the game shooting 56.5-percent (13-of-23) from the charity line.
Hampton held a 26-16 advantage in points in the paint and had a 16-11 advantage in points off turnovers. N.C. A&T State won the second chance battle, 11-7.
Coppin State 81, South Carolina State 62
The Coppin State backcourt duo of Genesis Lucas and Amber Griffin combined for 38 points to lead the fourth-seeded Lady Eagles to a convincing 81-62 win over No. 9-seed South Carolina State in a MEAC Tournament semifinal on Friday afternoon at Scope Arena.
Coppin State (16-15) advances to Saturday afternoon’s championship game against the winner of Friday’s other semifinal between No. 2 North Carolina A&T State and No. 3 Hampton.
Lucas scored 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Griffin tallied 17 on 7-of-14 accuracy for Coppin State, which shot 54.7-percent (29-of-53) from the floor, 50-percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range and 73.9-percent (17-of-23) from the free-throw line. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B005WU4UQI” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Jasmine Coleman scored 14 points and Bria Ratliff added 13 off the bench for SCSU (13-16), which upset top-seed Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
Coppin State never trailed. The Lady Eagles scored the game’s first six points and led 20-12 after one period.
SCSU whittled its deficit to as little as four in the second quarter and was within five at 27-22 after a layup by Brittany Drumgoole with 5:32 left in the half. But CSU closed the half on an 11-0 run to widen the margin. Griffin had seven of the 11 points, and both she and Lucas hit 3-pointers to help send CSU into the half with a 38-22 lead.
The Lady Eagles led by double figures the entire second half. SCSU cut its deficit to 10 points on five occasions in the fourth quarter, the last being at 69-59 on a jumper by Coleman with 3:27 left. But CSU outscored the Lady Bulldogs 12-3 the rest of the way to ease into Saturday’s championship round.
Keena Samuels scored 13 points, Janelle Lane chipped in with 10 and Tanaysa Henderson had eight, including two 3-pointers, for CSU. The Lady Eagles matched their season high with six made 3-point field goals, two each by Henderson, Griffin and Lucas. Jordan Swails also scored eight points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds off the bench for Coppin State.
The Lady Eagles last made it to the MEAC Tournament championship game in 2014, when they lost to Hampton by a 50-47 score. CSU’s last MEAC title came in 2008.