Last season, the NCAA women’s tournament selection committee surprised Hampton coach David Six, giving the Lady Pirates a 13th seed, the highest ever earned by a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team and a spot higher than the 14thseed Six expected.
On Monday, the committee surprised Six again — but not in a good way.
HU, which bettered last year’s 25-7 mark with a school Division I-record 26 wins and won the MEAC tournament title for the third straight season, learned it will face No. 1-seeded Stanford (31-1) in Norfolk on Saturday as a 16 seed.
“You’re telling me we’re worse than last year?” Six said. ” … I don’t feel disappointed. I feel disrespected.”
Hampton (26-4) ranks second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 46.8 points per game, and is first in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 20.3 shooting from long range. The Lady Pirates also rank third in field-goal defense (32.3 percent) and are ninth in turnover margin at plus-6.4.
“We’re better this year than we were the last two years,” said senior point guard and MEAC tournament MVP Jericka Jenkins, ranked second in the nation with 7.2 assists per game. “We got a 15 seed my sophomore year and a 13 seed last year, and I just feel like a 16 seed this year, after winning the MEAC three years in a row — it just doesn’t add up to me.”
The Lady Pirates, making their third straight NCAA tournament appearance, took fourth seed Kentucky to overtime last season before falling 66-62.
“It’s just motivation,” said Jenkins, who had 14 points in that game. “We can play with any team, no matter what the name on the jersey is. We’re going to give it all we have.”
Players and coaches from the HU women’s and men’s teams joined fans, athletic administrators and the Pirate mascot to watch Monday night’s selection show on ESPN. The crowd didn’t have to wait long, as the Stanford-Hampton matchup, to be televised on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m., was the first flashed on the screen.
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