The Delaware State University women's basketball team snapped a five-year MEAC Tournament losing streak with a 55-44 first round win over Bethune-Cookman at the Scope Arena today.
Sophomore Tierra Hawkins had game-highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Hornets. Keyanna Tate had eight points and seven rebounds, while Tasia Bristow, Deanna Harmon and Jade Washington tallied seven points each.
Delaware State, seeded ninth in the tournament, led 23-22 at the half and outscored the eighth-seeded Wildcats 32-22 in the final 20 minutes. The score was 35-35 before the Lady Hornets scored 10 straight points to take control of the game.
DSU held its biggest lead, 53-41, on a lay-up by Hawkins with 2:01 left to play.
The tournament win was the first for DSU since a 67-49 quarterfinal victory against Morgan State in 2008.
“I’m really proud of the effort by our team today,” said Delaware State first-year head coach Tamika Louis. “I thought our defensive intensity was strong throughout the game and we were able to knock down some big shots in the second half.”
Louis added, “This was an important win in the rebounding of our team.”
Hawkins was 8-for-15 from the field. She has reached double figures in 26 of DSU’s 30 games this season. Today’s “double-double” was her sixth of the season.
“Tierra Hawkins can be as good as she wants to be,” said Louis. “She’s just a sophomore; so the sky is the limit when it comes to her potential.”
Hawkins was more pleased with team’s effort than her individual numbers.
“I thought we played good team defense today,” she said. “We made Bethune-Cookman work hard for every shot.
The Lady Hornets held a 40-27 rebounding edge and collected five blocks in the contest. DSU forced the Wildcats into 9-of-23 shooting (39.1%) and 10 turnovers in the second half.
Delaware State was 23-for-51 from the field (45.1%), while Bethune-Cookman was 19-for-50 (38.0%) for the game.
The Lady Hornets will take on defending champ and No. 1 seed Hampton in the tournament quarterfinals on Wed. (Mar. 13) at 12:00 p.m.
Hampton swept the two regular season meetings between the teams, winning 75-56 on Feb. 11 at home, and 49-41 on Feb. 25 at Delaware State.