Saturday, March 23, 2013

Duke: "Hampton's like an ACC team"

Wondering if Hampton might sneak up on Duke in the NCAA Tournament?

Forget about it. During her day-before-game press conference Saturday, Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie made it clear she understands exactly what kind of team Duke will be dealing with Sunday at 12:05 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"Hampton is the greatest No. 15 seed I've ever seen in my life," McCallie said. "Absolutely terrific. They were completely untested in the MEAC. They belonged in the ACC. They're an ACC team."

McCallie referenced Hampton's nine-point victory over LSU, which is seeded sixth in this tournament, and the Lady Pirates' one-point loss to 10th-seeded DePaul, which will play No. 7 Oklahoma State in Sunday's other first-round game at Duke. Hampton led DePaul by 13 points with less than 10 minutes to go.

"There are no seeds here," McCallie said. "The seeds are gone."

Asked for specifics about the Lady Pirates, McCallie couldn't stop gushing.

"They're extremely well-coached, have tremendous athleticism," she said. "They got guards that are shooting it but also play great off the bounce, can gap you to death. Great in transition. Their defense is extremely disruptive.

"Hampton could have beaten a lot of our teams in the ACC, and they're as athletic as any of them, particularly 13 (Keiara Avant), 24 (Olivia Allen), 2 (Nicole Hamilton).... Interesting team."

Should be an interesting game.

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