|No. 2 N.C. A&T State Advances to MEAC Title Game With Victory Over No. 3 Hampton||< All News|
|Friday, March 11, 2016|
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.
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.