The South Carolina State women's basketball team survived 29 turnovers with their second-best shooting night of the season to grab a 78-70 home upset win over perennial Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Hampton on Monday.
The victory snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Lady Pirates in the process.
Guard Bryeasha Blair poured in 28 points, including a 12-12 performance from the free throw line to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Esther Udonsi came off the bench for 16 points, including a 4-6 effort from behind the arc, while Kemoni Jenkins added 11 points and tied for team rebounding honors with eight.
Kira Bell, another reserve, added 10 points and six boards for S.C. State, which also got nine points and eight rebounds from Jasmine Williams in the win. The victory lifted S.C. State coach Doug Robertson’s team to 7-11 overall and 2-4 in the MEAC. The win also gave the Lady Bulldogs a 2-2 split in finishing a four-game homestand.
S.C. State connected on 49 percent (25-51) of its shots from the field, including 6-11 from three-point range. It was the second-best shooting performance from the field by the Lady Bulldogs this season, eclipsed only by a 50 percent showing in an 86-40 win at Johnson & Wales on Dec. 28.
Hampton, which dropped its first league contest of the season, made just 37.3 percent (28-of-75) of its opportunities from the field, and was just 8-of-29 from beyond the arc.
Four Lady Pirates reached double figures, led by Monnazjea Finney-Smith’s 24 points. K’lynn Willis had 13 points, and both Dejane’ James and Ashley Bates added 10 points in the loss, which put Hampton at 7-10 overall and 3-1 in league contests.
Bates had a game-high nine rebounds to lead Hampton on the boards, however, S.C. State won the rebounding battle 46-32.
The two teams fought to a 30-30 tie at intermission, with the visitors leading 12-11 after one and the host winning the second period by an identical one-point margin 19-18, to forge the deadlock at the half.
Udonsi had eight of her points in the first half, while Jasmine Williams and Blair each had seven points in the opening 20 minutes. Monnazjea Finney-Smith had 12 points, coming on four 3-pointers, to lead the Lady Pirates in the first half.
The Lady Bulldogs took charge in the third period, scoring 19 of the period’s first 28 points to build a 49-39 edge on a Jaquanna Murray drive and layup, her only points of the night with 1:58 on the third-period clock, but Hampton came back to close the gap to 54-49 going into the final 10 minutes.
Bell had six of her total during an 11-6 run to start the final period, staking S.C. State to a 65-55 advantage with 5:17 on the clock. The Lady Bulldogs, despite committing seven of its 29 turnovers during three-minute span after Hampton had employed an all-court press defense, increased its lead to 76-63 with less than a minute left.
The Lady Pirates, however, were not done as they took advantage of three more Lady Bulldog miscues to score seven straight points during a 15-second span to close the gap to 76-70 with 39 seconds to play.
Hampton men top Bulldogs
in 91-84 MEAC contest
Senior guard Patrell Rogers tossed in a team-high 19 points, shooting 6-of-6 from the charity stripe on Monday night, but it wasn’t enough for a Bulldogs win.
South Carolina State dropped a 91-84 decision to Hampton, for a second-straight loss inside Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. The loss split the recent 4-game homestand to a 2-2 result.
Senior guard James "J.J." Richardson added 18 points and sophomore forward Damani Applewhite finished with 16 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Despite the loss, the home team led in several categories, including points in the paint (46-44), points off turnovers (20-15), 2nd-chance points (13-9) and bench points (31-8), while forcing a game-high 16 turnovers.
Hampton was led by Jermaine Marrow with a game-high 31 points and nine assists. Kalin Fisher added 19 points and Akim Mitchell added 16 points, while Malique Trent-Street finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the winners.
S.C. State fell to 7-14 overall, 3-3 in the MEAC, while Hampton improved to 7-12 overall, 2-2 in the league.
S.C. State will return to action on Saturday, starting a three-game road swing at Coppin State in a 2 p.m. tip-off, followed by Morgan State on Monday in Baltimore, MD, in a 7:30 p.m. start.