This season has been a changing of the guard for the new look MEAC for women’s basketball.
No active team has won a MEAC championship since Coppin State did so in 2008. During that time North Carolina A&T won in 2009, 2016, and the most recent in 2021.
Hampton won the MEAC title from 2010-2014 and 2016, Savannah State won in 2015 and Bethune-Cookman won in 2019.
While we build toward crowning a new MEAC champion, let’s take a look at who is leading the way. Here are the MEAC Women’s Basketball Midseason Grades.
Norfolk State: A
Although Norfolk State has the third-best win percentage in the MEAC so far, the team ranks high because it is the last remaining unbeaten team in MEAC play.
The Spartans have won each of their last four all coming against MEAC teams including wins over North Carolina Central, Coppin State, Morgan State and South Carolina State.
Elsewhere, they have some good non-conference wins against Campbell, George Mason and UNC Wilmington with two of those wins coming on the road.
They have the best scoring margin in conference play at +13.3 the only team with one above 10 points.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss in the MEAC tournament final last season, the Bison are in a good position to potentially get over the hump this year.
Howard has the best overall win percentage sitting at 10-7 going 4-1 in conference with their lone loss coming against Morgan State.
What’s even more impressive about the Bison this season is 13 of their last 17 games have come away from home holding a 7-6 road record.
With seven of their last nine games being played on their home court, Howard could easily make a push for the top seed in the tournament.
Junior guard Deja Francis could be in the running for MEAC Player of the Year averaging a leading 22.3 points on 57% shooting against conference opponents.
Coppin State: B+
Coppin State has the most wins against non-conference Division I teams (6) including victories over La Salle and Marshall.
Coppin’s head-to-head losses against Norfolk State and Howard keeps the team from getting an “A” grade but they are a dangerous team led by the potential MEAC Player of the Year Jaia Alexander.
The graduate guard leads the MEAC in scoring (16.8), second in rebounding (7.8), and fifth in field goal percentage (40%) making her the only player to rank in the top five in each category.
In addition, two of the top five leaders in assists play for the Eagles (Mossi Staples and Aliyah Lawson) while the team has committed the fewest turnovers per game overall of any in the conference.
Morgan State: B
This year has been a mixed bag for the Morgan State Bears, seeing them have success against non-conference opponents but struggle in conference games.
Prior to entering conference play, the Bears won four straight against Division I non-conference teams including wins over Saint Peter’s, Hofstra, Loyola (MD) and most impressively a 21-point victory against Navy.
Against MEAC competition though, they are an even 2-2 with wins against Howard and UMES as well as losses to Coppin State and Norfolk State.
Maryland Eastern Shore: D-
On the surface, it may not look like Maryland Eastern Shore is having that bad of a season until going in-depth and seeing that the numbers are not what they seem.
The Hawks currently sit at 5-12 overall but they are just 2-12 against Division I opposition and are 1-4 against MEAC teams.
UMES is the top-scoring team overall averaging 63.1 points but are fifth in scoring in conference games with 60.0 on a -7.6 scoring margin.
South Carolina State: D-
While South Carolina State is above .500 in games against MEAC opponents, that is the source of all of its wins.
The Bulldogs are 0-14 against non-conference teams losing each game by double figures including a 60-point loss to Jackson State.
On a positive note, SC State is actually the top defensive team in conference play allowing 55.2 points on just 29% shooting from the field and 19% shooting from three.
North Carolina Central: F
North Carolina Central has just two wins this season one being against Division III Johnson & Wales and the other against the winless Delaware State.
The remainder of the schedule has seen the team lose by at least 10 points in 12 of its 13 losses including seven 20-point losses.
One positive for the Eagles has been their freshman guard Diamond Thomas who is currently fourth in the MEAC in scoring and second in three-point percentage.
Delaware State: F
This has been a nightmare season on the hardwood for Delaware State not just for the men but for the women as well.
The lady Hornets are the lone winless team at 0-11 overall and 0-2 in conference play. Not only have they been losing all but one of their losses were blowouts by large margins.
Other than their loss by five in their most recent outing against South Carolina State, the next closest game was by 15 points to Hampton in their second game of the season.
Every other loss on their schedule has come by at least a 20-point margin with the largest being a 69-point loss to Penn State.