HAMPTON, Va. – It's a well-known fact that the rivalry between Howard and Hampton runs deep, so much so that when the two schools meet on the hardwood it's definitely going to be a game to remember.
The Howard women's basketball team did not disappoint as it showed Hampton who the "Real HU" is with a stellar 67-62 victory on Saturday afternoon in the HU Convocation Center.
With the triumph, Howard moved to 11-11 overall and 7-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), while Hampton dropped to 14-10 (8-3 MEAC) with its third loss in its last four games.
Today marks the first time the Bison have beaten the Lady Pirates in Hampton since Jan. 21, 2002 when Howard went back to the nation's capital with a 71-70 win.
Rookie Sarah Edmond put up a career-high 15 points and paired it with four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in her 30 minutes on the court. She scored 10 of her points in the second half.
Senior Sydni Johnson also posted 15 points, while freshman Jayla Myles added nine points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting with five blocks and four boards. Redshirt junior Erin Blaine tallied a team-best nine rebounds, eight of which were defensive takes. Redshirt senior Te'Shya Heslip dished out a game-high eight assists to go with eight points and six rebounds.
Howard shot a season-high 57.8 percent from the floor, making 26 of its 45 attempts. The Bison also recorded a season-best 10 blocks and connected on 57.1 percent (12-21) of their free throws.
Hampton had its third-worst shooting night in MEAC play as Howard held the home team to just 28.0 percent (21-75) from the field. The Lady Pirates also struggled at the charity stripe, making a season-low 43.8 percent (14-32) of their free throws. The Bison outscored the Lady Pirates in the paint, 38-26, and got 29 of their points off the bench.
Myles tallied Howard's five opening points to get the Bison on the scoreboard. Heslip drew the foul and made both free throws to give HU its first lead of the game, 9-8, at the 5:58 mark. After charging down the court, Heslip threaded the ball through traffic in the paint to Edmond, who connected on a reverse layup for an 11-10 edge. With the score tied at 12 and 41.7 seconds to go, freshman Ayonna Williams sank both attempts at the charity stripe but Hampton responded with a quick layup to knot the first quarter at 14.
With 7:14 on the clock in the second quarter, the Lady Pirates were 0-for-8 from the free throw line and the game was tied at 16. The two teams traded points until Hampton went ahead, 23-20, with 4:22 left in the half. Howard forced three straight turnovers but also struggled to hold onto the ball, which allowed the Lady Pirates to take a 30-29 lead into the break.
Heslip hit the step-back jumper and freshman Star Fitzgerald-Greer added a basket to hand Howard a 35-32 advantage with 6:29 in the third period. Johnson went back-to-back from downtown to push the gap to 45-39 at the 2:03 mark. During the last minute of the quarter, Edmond dropped the ball off for Johnson, who laid it in, before draining a smooth jumper that sent Howard into the final period up 52-44.
The Bison started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to put the score at 58-44. The Lady Pirates managed to cut the deficit to seven, 58-51, with 5:06 left in the game. Heslip got the ball up to a sprinting Blaine, who laid it in easily for a 61-53 lead. Hampton gained momentum with seven straight points to tie the game at 62 with 1:01 remaining. Johnson was clutch on a deep three-pointer with 32.1 seconds left before Myles finished a layup to seal the win, 67-62.
Monnazjea Finney-Smith paced the Lady Pirates with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. She was joined in double figures by K'lynn Willis, who had 10 points.
Howard is heading back to Washington, D.C. to host Morgan State on Monday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. in Burr Gymnasium.