Sunday, March 24, 2013
Hampton, Liberty bow out of NCAAs
Obviously not the results we were hoping for in the NCAA Tournament Sunday, as No. 2 Duke downed No. 15 Hampton 67-51 when No. 4 Purdue took care of No. 13 Liberty 77-43. But there were a few things to smile about. Here are some of the local angle winners from the day of NCAA hoops:
Hampton fans: Not sure how many of the folks at Cameron Indoor Stadium were Lady Pirates supporters, but from the amount of applause that rang out for every Hampton success, it sounded like close to half of 'em. No joke. Hampton fans turned out loud and proud, and combined with the always-vocal Duke rooters, provided the type of big-game atmosphere often lacking at these NCAA first-round games. Sounded great on TV, too.
Devon Brown: The Lady Flames senior began play needing 20 points to reach 2,000. She dropped 21 on Big Ten tournament champion Purdue, meaning she will end one of the most illustrious careers in Liberty history with 2,001 points. The performance also continued Brown's habit of coming up big against the Lady Flames' toughest opponents. Brown scored 23 points against SEC tournament champion Texas A&M and 20 against defending national champion Baylor.
WatchESPN: Thanks to the cool online feature allows you call up four different games on the same screen, we were able to simultaneously monitor Hampton-Duke, Liberty-Purdue, Delaware-West Virginia - Elena's a beast! - and, just for kicks, the Virginia-St. John's men's game. Nice.
Keiara Avant: Undersized at 5-11 against Duke's quality bigs, Avant still managed to do business against the Blue Devils to the tune of 18 points and 7 rebounds in her final college game.
Ashley Rininger: Pressed into service with Jasmine Gardner sidelined with a knee injury, Liberty's 6-4 redshirt freshman responded to her first career start by grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds.
Second-half adjustments: After settling for jumpers and being forced on their heels defensively by the Blue Devils in the first half, Hampton attacked the paint and got more aggressive defensively after the break. This, along with a few big jumpers from Olivia Allen, helped the Lady Pirates whittle a 17-point halftime deficit to six and inject some real drama into the proceedings. "I felt like we gave Duke a moment of pause," Hampton coach David Six said. For what it's worth, Hampton outscored Duke in the second half 36-35.
Elizabeth Williams: Although it was kind of tough seeing the Duke sophomore dealin' at the expense of the Lady Pirates, hats off to our Hampton Roads homegirl for her 18 points, 6 boards and 3 blocks. One more victory and we'll see ya in Norfolk, Liz.
Hampton's desire for respect: While they didn't make a big deal of it, Six and the Lady Pirates would tell anyone that asked there's no way they should have been seeded 15th. After the game, Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie made their case for them. "I'm sorry for Hampton that they were a 15 seed because they were trying to get their first NCAA Tournament victory, and they should have been a higher seed. They earned that by what they did over the season. They earned that by who they beat. They did everything right, and then they had to come and play Duke at Duke. And my heart goes out to them because they're trying to build a special program just like we all are. It's just too bad because they're a fantastic team. Some of those women could play on any team. They might be the most athletic team we've played including our ACC teams."