Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Big shots - Wednesday's top stars

The biggest contributors during Wednesday night's slate of games, and a look ahead at Thursday's contests.

3. Jephany Brown, Hampton

The former junior college star scored a season-high 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and added three blocks as Hampton (7-7, 1-0) held off North Carolina A&T 64-57 in the teams' MEAC opener. It may have been a breakout performance by Brown, who shot 49.7 percent at Walters State Community College in 2014-15 but was at 26.6 percent through 13 games at Hampton heading into Wednesday's contest.

2. Kayla Roberts, Norfolk State

One of four Spartans in double figures, Roberts finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks as NSU (7-7, 1-0 MEAC) kicked off MEAC play with a 56-47 win at Morgan State. The Bears, who came in ranked 343rd of 344 Division I teams in field goal percentage (29.9 percent), connected at a 22.9 percent clip Wednesday and were stuck in the teens until a late fourth-quarter flurry.

1. Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Hampton

The Lady Pirates scoring ace notched 20 points and moved into second place on the MEAC all-time scoring list in the victory over North Carolina A&T 64-57.  Tate-DeFreitas currently stands at 2,181 career points - former Howard star Alisha Hill had 2,179 - and will now take aim at Howard's Saadia Doyle, who tops the league's all-time scoring list with 2,310 points.

In other action Wednesday, Atlantic 10 preseason favorite Saint Louis rolled over George Mason 89-50. It was the second straight blowout victory for the Billikens (12-3, 2-0), who stomped Davidson by 37 on Saturday. Kara Wright's 14 points led the Patriots (9-7, 2-1).

Thursday's games

Richmond (7-7, 1-0 Atlantic 10) at VCU (8-7, 1-1), 7 p.m.

Chapter One of the crosstown showdown. The Rams have won two in a row thanks in large part to the play of forward Curteeona Brelove, who went for 19 points and 14 rebounds last week against Brown and posted a career-high 20 points Sunday against A-10 rival La Salle. Richmond, which lost its first three, won its next four and then lost four straight, is now on a three-game winning streak. A fickle shooting touch is behind the Spiders' roller-coaster results. Lately, the shots have been falling.

No. 8 Louisville (13-3, 1-1 ACC) at Virginia (11-3, 0-1), 7 p.m.

The Cavaliers committed 27 turnovers in Monday's 54-46 loss at Syracuse, which leads the ACC in turnovers forced. The league's No. 2 team in that category? Louisville (20.5). Two years ago, the Cavaliers upset a Cardinals team that was also ranked No. 8 in the final game of the regular season. Louisville posted comfortable victories in both meetings last season.

Marshall (10-3, 2-0 C-USA) at Old Dominion (6-7, 1-1), 7 p.m.

Old Dominion's first home game since Dec. 18; the Lady Monarchs went 1-4 in the five road/neutral site games since. They are 5-1 at the Constant Center. Fourth-quarter fades have been an issue of late for Old Dominion, The most recent example came Sunday when North Texas used an 11-0 run inside the final five minutes to break a 50-50 tie and claim a 10-point victory.

Finally, happy birthday to Liberty freshman Lela Sellers, who on Tuesday gave herself an early present with a career-high 21 points in a victory over Charleston Southern. Sellers' previous high was nine points (twice).

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