Saturday, January 29, 2011

Liberty, Hampton cruise with suffocating defense

Saturday's results

Liberty 70, Winthrop 33: There's no such thing as a perfect defensive effort, but we suspect even Lady Flames coach Carey Green will be hard-pressed to find many flaws with the lockdown his team applied Saturday. Consider that Winthrop's top three scorers combined to score zero points. Devon Brown scored 15 points and Jelena Antic and Tolu Omotola added 11 apiece for Liberty (12-8, 6-1 Big South), which won for the eighth time in nine games and sixth straight time in an away game.

Hampton 52, Delaware State 29: Speaking of great defense.... We figured this would be a mismatch, but holding another Division I team to 29 points? Wow. The Lady Pirates (14-6, 7-1 MEAC) were no offensive juggernaut themselves (34 percent shooting). But when you hold the other guy to 15 percent shooting, you don't have to be. DelState scored only 11 points in the first half and made just 2 field goals in the second.

Morgan State 64, Norfolk State 60: Tough loss for the Spartans, who tied things at 56 on a 3-point play by Batavia Owens with 5:05 remaining but made only one of their next 10 field-goal attempts. That's 36 straight MEAC road losses for NSU (8-9, 1-6 MEAC), but the competitiveness of this game was encouraging. If the Spartans can battle Morgan State this closely away from home, that first MEAC road victory shouldn't be too far away. In fact, we think it may come as soon as Monday.

Radford 66, Coastal Carolina 55: We called them the hottest team in the state and the Highlanders (10-11, 7-1) keep proving it, staying atop with Big South with another win. They didn't get it done from the floor, shooting just 30 percent, but they dominated the line (24-of-29) compared to Carolina (8-of-10). Another tidy effort (9 turnovers) led by Ashley Buckhannon's 18 points.

Temple 84, Richmond 56: The Owls shot 52 percent from the field, which isn't too shabby, unless you consider that they were 61 percent from beyond the arc, burying a school-record 14 3-pointers. By contrast, the Spiders did not connect on any of their eight 3-point attempts. Temple (15-6. 6-0 A-10) scored the first 10, and Richmond (13-8. 4-3) never recovered. Abby Oliver was held to five points and only took four shots. Brittani Shells scored just 10 and Crystal Goring added 12. It's an official slump for Richmond, which needs to find a way to get its offense cooking again behind Shells and Oliver.

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