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HU women roll Morgan State 99-45

HAMPTON — Bad news for the rest of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, if Hampton University women's coach David Six is accurate and Monday night is an indicator: the Lady Pirates are nowhere near their ceiling.

Hampton placed four players in double figures, forced a metric ton of turnovers and ran away from Morgan State 99-45 in the most lopsided win in Six's four-plus seasons.

"I think we're getting there," Six said. "I don't think we're quite there yet. I think we're starting to play better defense."

The Lady Pirates (14-4, 5-0 MEAC) easily won their 35th consecutive conference game, as Morgan State had more than twice as many turnovers (31) as baskets (14).

Freshman Malia Tate-DeFreitas scored 17 of her team-high 22 points in the first half. Kenia Cole (20 points) continued her recent productive streak, hitting 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

Alyssa Bennett (18 points) was a deadly efficient 8-for-9 from the field and filled the stat line with six rebounds, five steals and two assists in just 21 minutes. Fellow senior Nikki Hamilton (14 points) had a team-high seven rebounds from her point guard position, as well as six assists, three blocks and a steal.

"I still would like for Hamilton and Bennett to lock in a little better, defensively," Six said, "because they're going to make us go on defense. Other than that, I see improvement every game, so I'm happy with that."

Morgan State's Tracey Carrington (23 points), the MEAC's leading scorer, hit her average. But the Lady Pirates made her work for her points (6-for-19 FG), and she was the only Bear with more than five points.

Six's issues were with free-throw shooting (15-for-32), and general discipline and focus from a relatively inexperienced lineup, playing with a big lead.

"We've got to get better from the free-throw line," he said. "We were awful — flat-out awful."

While the trio of Bennett, Hamilton and Tate-DeFreitas are proven double-figure scorers and contributors, players such as Cole, Brielle Ward, Tyler Hobgood and Ryan Jordan cement their roles within the rotation.

Hampton led 6-5 at the 16:50 mark, then pulled away over the next eight minutes to open a 34-12 cushion.

Tate-DeFreitas scored 10 of her 17 first-half points in a 2:47 span that gave the Lady Pirates an early 18-9 working margin.

HU's 52-25 halftime lead would have been bigger had the Lady Pirates converted several close shots and a few more free throws. They made 7 of 15 shots from 3-point range, but only 12 of 29 from inside the arc and 7 of 21 from the foul line.

HU's double-teaming defensive rotations weren't perfect, but created havoc for Morgan State's ballhandlers. The Bears committed 18 turnovers in the first half that HU turned into 24 points, and Morgan made just 6 of 25 shots.

"I think the rotation is already set," Six said, "but it is an opportunity for kids who have worked hard in practice, to get them some playing time and keep them motivated. And it does give some kids, games like this might put them over the hump, in terms of playing themselves into the rotation."

Fairbank can be reached by phone at 757-247-4637.

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