Women welcome Hampton for snowy showdown
PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -
After dropping their opening Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest at Morgan State on Jan. 3, things don’t get any easier for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as they host Hampton (3-9) on Saturday (Jan. 6) at 2 p.m.
The Lady Pirates opened the season with a huge road win at North Carolina, but cooled significantly topping San Jose State and Columbia, but dropping their other nine contests.
To find success against Hampton, Eastern Shore coach Fred Batchelor knows his team must play better than it did at Morgan.
The Shore gave up 26 offensive rebounds, turned the ball over 21 times, missed all 12 3-pointers it attempted and shot just 16-of-30 from the free throw line.
“They got 1000 second chances and we gave them a few more with turnovers,” Batchelor said. “We gave them 47 extra possessions. You can shoot 10 percent and beat anyone with that. We couldn’t capitalize and I don’t think we made one three. I don’t know too many games where you win that you don’t make a three.”
Meanwhile Hampton won its last game at Columbia on Wednesday by a 60-58 margin. Hampton outrebounded Columbia 44-42, but held an overwhelming 23-7 advantage on the offensive boards. Defensively, the Lady Pirates forced 24 turnovers and had 14 steals.
Graduate transfer Allina Starr — who came from University of Minnesota — leads Hampton in scoring (12.7 ppg), assists (3.8) and steals (2.3)
But senior Monnazjea Finney-Smith has been equally impressive. She started her final campaign with a blistering 25 point, 7-of-12 from 3-point land performance in Hampton’s 70-66 win at North Carolina on Nov. 10. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 12.1 points (2nd on the team) and 7.6 rebounds (1st).
Freshman Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky) leads the Hawks with 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds a contest and is coming off a 15-point performance at Morgan State.
Junior Ciani Byrom (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is second on the team with 10.5 points per game and also had 15 against the Bears.
Junior JUCO transfer Dominique Walker (Bel Air, Maryland) is averaging 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds over that last five games as she continues to increase her involvement.
This will be the final regular season meeting between the two teams as members of the MEAC. Hampton will join the Big South Conference effective July 1, 2018. The Bears hold a 38-8 all-time advantage in the series and has won 14 of the last 16.
If the Hawks hope to shock the Lady Pirates as they did last season at the HU Convocation Center with a 68-65 victory they will need to improve on their recent play.
“We have got to play better,” Batchelor said. “That is all I can say. We have to get better production form our starters. We have to be tougher. We have to be more aggressive and we have to play with a lot more confidence.
“I thought Morgan State felt like they were going to win the basketball game when they stepped on the floor and we hoped we were going to win the basketball game.”
That will need to change on Saturday if the Hawks hope to pick up a MEAC victory. Things get no easier form here as they host preseason No. 1 Bethune-Cookman on Monday (Jan 8) at 5:30 p.m.
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/
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