It would be entirely accurate to call David Six a happy man.
And why not? His Hampton University women’s basketball team, fresh off its unprecedented fifth straight MEAC Tournament crown, earned a No. 12 seed in the Stanford Region. The Lady Pirates will face No. 5 seed Michigan State on Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C. at 12:30 p.m.ncaa march madness 150w
The game, to be played in Carmichael Arena, will be televised live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
“We’re real happy [with a 12 seed]. We’re elated,” Six said. “I thought we were a 12, and it’s nice to see the NCAA did the right thing.”
It is not only the highest seed the Lady Pirates have ever earned, but it is also the highest seed ever for a MEAC team in the 64-team format – bettering the No. 13 seed the Lady Pirates received in 2011.
Hampton (28-4) has won its last 18 games after defeating Coppin State 50-47 on Saturday in the MEAC championship game. The Lady Pirates, who have won their last 49 games against conference foes, are making their fifth straight NCAA appearance and eighth overall.
The Lady Pirates are led by freshman guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas (Harrisburg, Pa.), the MEAC Rookie of the Year who is averaging 18.5 points per game. Senior forward Alyssa Bennett (Hampton, Va.) is a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and the MEAC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The First Team All-MEAC selection averaged 22.3 points and 15.0 rebounds per game in the MEAC Tournament.
Senior guard Nicole Hamilton (Hampton, Va.) was also a First Team All-MEAC selection after ranking second in the conference in both assists and assist-turnover ratio, and her 20-point performance on Saturday keyed the Lady Pirates’ victory.
No. 20/24 Michigan State (22-9) won the Big Ten regular-season championship this season after tying Penn State with a 13-3 mark in league play. The Spartans had their six-game winning streak snapped on March 8 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, falling 86-58 to Nebraska.
Redshirt-freshman guard Aeiral Powers, a First Team All-Big Ten selection, leads a balance Michigan State attack, as four players are averaging double figures in scoring. Powers is averaging 13.4 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds a contest, while freshman guard Tori Jankoska and senior forward Annalise Pickrel are each pouring in 12.4 points per game.
Junior forward Becca Mills, shooting a team-best .506 from the floor, is averaging 10.1 points per game.
Pickrel was named Second Team All-Big Ten, while Mills, Jankoska, and senior guard Klarissa Bell each earned honorable mention accolades. Bell was also named to the All-Defensive Team.
Hampton and Michigan State have never met.
Sunday’s second game in Chapel Hill will pit No. 4 seed North Carolina against No. 13 seed UT-Martin. The winners of Sunday’s game will meet in the second round on Tuesday.