HAMPTON, VA- On a night in which neither team cracked 30-percent shooting, the Hampton University women's basketball team gutted out a 43-35 win over Bethune-Cookman on Monday at the HU Convocation Center to remain unbeaten in conference play.
Dating back to the 2011-12 season, the Lady Pirates (7-3, 2-0 MEAC) have won their last 32 games against conference foes, including MEAC Tournament games.
Senior guard Nicole Hamilton and freshman guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas each led the Lady Pirates with 16 points, while Tate-DeFreitas and redshirt-sophomore forward Brielle Ward each grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Hamilton also dished out three assists, blocked three shots, and grabbed a career-high eight steals.
Bethune-Cookman scored the first basket of the game – a jumper from Shakeyia Colyer – before the Lady Pirates responded with a 25-2 run to take a 25-4 lead with 7:21 left in the first half following a fastbreak layup from Hamilton.
During that stretch, Bethune-Cookman went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal.
The Lady Wildcats then scored the next nine points to cut the lead to 25-13 after a 3-pointer from Rene Chastity Taylor at the 3:26 mark. In fact, following Hampton taking that 25-4 lead, the Lady Wildcats closed the half by scoring 15 of the next 17 points, going into the half down 27-19.
Tate-DeFreitas had 10 points at the half.
Both teams got off to a slow start to open the second half, as the first field goal didn't come until Hamilton hit a jumper with 17:54 left in the game to give Hampton a 29-19 lead. Bethune-Cookman's first field goal of the half didn't come until the 12:59 mark, a layup from Kailyn Williams to cut the lead to 30-21.
Tate-DeFreitas hit two free throws with 11:19 to play to give the Lady Pirates a 32-22 lead, before Taylor cut that lead to 32-24 with 10:53 left.
Hampton then rattled off the next nine points – including back-to-back fastbreak layups from Hamilton, a fastbreak layup from Tate-DeFreitas, and a Hamilton 3-pointer – to take a 41-24 lead with 7:08 remaining in the game.
The Lady Pirates scored just one basket the rest of the way, as Bethune-Cookman closed the game with an 11-2 run – but Hampton built enough of a cushion to hold on for the win.