Sunday, March 19, 2017

Minus yet another starter, Lady Pirates fall hard at Duke

DURHAM, North Carolina — Missing three starters, Hampton University pulled off a three-game sweep of the MEAC tournament last weekend. It was as unexpected as it was remarkable.

But in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night, missing yet another starter and facing one of the nation’s premier teams, the Lady Pirates finally ran out of magic beans. No. 2 Duke was too big, too deep and too talented in a 94-31 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Tough night,” HU coach David Six said. “We played a great team and didn’t play well. We certainly don’t want to make excuses, but without four starters against a great Duke team, it’s just tough all the way around. We would have liked to have made a better showing, but it wasn’t in the cards tonight.

“You can’t do it without four starters. You just can’t. I told the kids, if you take LeBron (James), Kevin Love, Kyrie (Irving) and J.R. Smith off Cleveland, Cleveland is a lottery-pick team.”

Hampton had been missing Malia Tate-DeFreitas, its all-time leading scorer in Division I, since Jan. 14 with a torn ACL. Ashley Bates (shoulder) and Chanel Green (ankle) sustained season-ending injuries in the third week of February.

Then, in the MEAC championship win over Bethune-Cookman, the Lady Pirates lost center Kaylah Lupoe with a sprained ankle.


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