Hampton and Howard Women Battle To See Who Is The Real HU
WASHINGTON, DC - When Hampton and Howard University get together for Thursday night's match-up, there should be lots of fireworks and plenty of excitement. In addition to it being the regular season finale for both teams as they prepare for the upcoming MEAC tournament, it will also features some of the top players at their positions in the conference.
The Lady Pirates come into the game, riding a nine-game win streak, having run roughshod over most of their recent opponents.
The Lady Bison (13-16 overall, 9-6 in the MEAC), on the other hand, seemed to be on their way to a streak of their own until they were derailed by Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday on the road. It snapped a three-game win streak and left the team fighting to get one of the Top 5 seedings in the tournament. Howard has won 8 of its last 10.
"Anytime you get into the last game of the season and it is Senior Night, you want to play well as you can to get ready for the tournament," explained Howard head coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "There is a lot going on as far as the tournament and the seedings, so it is important that we play well."
Hampton (21-6 overall, 14-1 in the MEAC) relies on its tough defense, the playmaking abilities of Jericka Jenkins, the power game of Quanneisha Perry and the outside marksmanship of Choicetta McMillan.
Jenkins leads the MEAC and ranks nationally in assists with over seven per game. The 5-4 junior guard from Lancaster, TX also ranks among the leaders in scoring and free throw shooting. Perry, a senior forward from Decatur, GA and candidate for Player of the Year honors, does most of her damage around the basket, averaging almost 13 points and 9 rebounds per game.
McMillan, a junior guard from Fairfield, TX, gives the Lady Pirates the outside threat with her three-point marksmanship. She averages 11 points per game and leads the conference in three pointers made per game (2.3 per game).
Howard has been successful by using a suffocating defense that has held its last 10 opponents to under 60 points per game. On the season, the Lady Bison are second in the MEAC in scoring defense, allowing only 54 points per game.
"When you look at the two teams, Hampton has the ability to score points but just like us, they play great defense," said Geckeler. "We are both ranked nationally in that area."
Doyle, the 2009-10 MEAC Rookie of the Year, picked up where she left off last year. She leads the conference in scoring with over 18 points per game, is second in rebounding with almost 9 per game and ranks among the leaders in shooting (45 percent), free throw shooting (76 percent) and in minutes played.
A 5-11 red-shirt sophomore from Atlanta, GA, Doyle has been the attention of every opponents' defensive focus, but she has proven to be almost unstoppable at times. In the past, Doyle scored most of her points from power moves, second chance opportunities and trips to the free throw line. But she has added a mid-range game to her repertoire.
Curley Payne, a sophomore guard, ranks among the best in that position. The 5-5 sophomore from Chula Vista, CA, ranks third in the MEAC in assists and sixth in steals. She has been especially effective in breaking down the opponents' defense with her penetration and her ability to hit the three-point shot in the clutch.
Holmes has really come on strong after an up and down freshman season. The 5-6 sophomore from Durham, NC, has at times been tough to guard as a double threat, with her ability to knock down the outside shot and her athletic ability to break down the defense and get to the basket.
The two rivals met on December 4 in Hampton, VA and the Lady Pirates prevailed 68-52 in a game that was much closer than the final score.
"I think that both teams have matured since that and have developed an identity," said Geckeler. "I think that it is going to be a great game." Tipoff is at 6 pm following the pre-game ceremonies honoring Jalissa Pullins and Amanda Edwards, the two senior members of the team.