Monday, January 23, 2012

Hampton, Liberty, Radford roll to victories, Virginia Tech, Longwood fall

Monday's games:

Hampton 52, Howard 39:  We knew that even Hampton's defense couldn't hold Howard to just eight points in a half again the way the Lady Pirates did on Jan. 7 in Hampton. And we were right - this time Howard scored 12 points in the first half as the Lady Pirates held them scoreless for the final 10:29 before the break. Ariel Phelps and Nicole Hamilton came off the bench to fuel Hampton to a 23-12 halftime lead, and Alyssa Bennett (a team-high 16 points) asserted herself in the second half as the Lady Pirates (15-3, 7-0 MEAC) captured their sixth straight victory. Jericka Jenkins contributed 12 points and 9 assists in the win. Also on Monday, Jenkins was named MEAC Player of the Week after averaging 14 points and a remarkable 14.5 assists in a pair of Lady Pirates victories, and Phelps shared conference defensive player of the week honors with Florida A&M's Antonia Bennett.

Liberty 74, Winthrop 49: Since losing in overtime to High Point on Jan. 7, the Lady Flames have won five straight games by the following margins: 39, 37, 15, 20 and now 25 points. Talk about shaking off a setback. Devon Brown scored 18 points while moving into seventh place on Liberty's all-time scoring list (1,194 points). Avery Warley contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds, Danika Dale chipped in 12 points and 9 boards and Terika Lunsford notched a career-high 11 points for the Lady Flames (11-7, 6-1 Big South). Liberty also rebounded its 45th straight opponent, although only by a 47-44 margin. The Lady Flames began play as the Division I leaders in rebounding margin (16.8).

Radford 53, Presbyterian 29: The Highlanders snapped a four-game losing streak by doing what they do best - stealing the ball. Radford began play ranked 19th in Division I in steals, and they swiped the ball from the Blue Hose 20 times Monday and scored 23 points off 25 Presbyterian turnovers. Ashley Buckhannon led the offense with 17 points and Da'Naria Erwin Spencer added 14.

No. 10 Miami 79, Virginia Tech 48: No surprises with that final score as the Hurricanes began play averaging 79.2 points a game while the Hokies averaged 49.5. Monet Tellier scored 18 points and Aerial Wilson added 15, but they couldn't prevent Tech from dropping its fifth straight game. Still, the 48 points are the most the Hokies have scored in six games. 

Murray State 86, Longwood 77:  The Lancers led by five at halftime before the Racers surged behind the play of Erica Burgess, who scored 25 of her game-high 31 points after the break. Still, it was a strong offensive showing by the Lancers as all five starters - Crystal Smith (18 points), Mieke Elkington (16), Chelsea Coward (16), Erin Neal (10) and Brittanni Billups (10) - finished in double figures. And no matter what happened in this game, Jan. 23, 2012 will always be remembered as a red-letter day for Longwood as it was announced Monday that the Lancers will join the Big South beginning in July.

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