Nazim Trammell-Wells | Contributing Writer
With schools that are only 14 miles apart, comparisons are inevitable. Here in Virginia, with no professional sports, it is a big deal when two local universities meet—especially schools in the Hampton Roads area, one of Virginia’s athletic hotbeds.
Old Dominion University, a big-time university in the area, is a member of Conference USA. Hampton University is a current member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, but will soon enter the Big South Conference following this July.
Being in different conferences, the teams only compete against each other once a year. Last year, the Lady Pirates fell short, with the final score being 58-61 at ODU. This year, they made sure that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes as before.
Recently, on January 20th, Hampton’s Lady Pirates defeated the Old Dominion Monarchs, 50-42. This is the first time in all seven meetings between the two teams that Hampton has emerged victorious.
For much of the game, the Lady Pirates were plagued by an 8-point deficit and were struggling to beat Old Dominion’s effective 2-3 zone. With the deficit stretching as far as 15 in ODU’s favor, Hampton got it back under control thanks to guard Dejane James and forward Jephany Brown. Brown, who led the team in scoring with 12 points, kept the team a float, showing off her aggressive scoring mentality after making two three-point shots. Brown’s three-pointers were the Lady Pirates’ only three’s of the first half.
James also outdid herself in this game. The 5’3 guard put up 11 points and displayed her crafty ball-handling and knack to get into the lane.
After three quarters passed, Hampton had a 4th quarter explosion. K’lynn Willis started the comeback after burying a pair of well needed triples. Those triples were surely confidence boosters, as Hampton turned up their defensive pressure.
“The feeling on the floor was amazing,” Willis said, “I feel like our energy picked up, which then led to big key defensive stops. The team flipped the switch to make the run with confidence and defensive pressure.”
That defensive pressure ultimately resulted in a 25-4 run in favor of the Lady Pirates. This win is a new addition to the long list of quality wins for the Lady Pirates, including Columbia, San Jose State and most notably, UNC Chapel Hill.
Quality wins like this have become a standard for the Lady Pirates this year, building much excitement for this year’s team.