HAMPTON — There was no chance of Hampton University losing. None. Zero. Not at home. Not to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's 11th-place team.
The Lady Pirates' tasks against Maryland Eastern Shore on Monday were sharper defensive focus and greater offensive efficiency — lacking in Saturday's win against Howard.
By those measures, Hampton still has work to do in the final weeks of the season, its 54-35 victory against the Lady Hawks notwithstanding.
Nicole Hamilton (25 points) scored nearly half of the Lady Pirates' total as they won their 41st in a row against MEAC competition and 10th straight against UMES, dating back to 2006.
Hampton (20-4, 11-0 MEAC) reached the 20-victory plateau for the fifth consecutive season. The Lady Pirates shot just 25 percent from the field, but won comfortably because the Lady Hawks (5-16, 1-8 MEAC) were gruesome on offense. UMES managed just nine baskets and shot 13 percent from the field.
UMES' offensive struggles were more a result of missed shots than Hampton's defense. The Lady Hawks' post players — they had four 6-feet or taller — couldn't finish chances around the basket, and their guards couldn't take advantage of driving lanes and angles that HU too often allowed.
UMES' length bothered Hampton, defensively, inside the 3-point line as the Lady Pirates shot less than 36 percent for the second consecutive game.
Hamilton was the only HU player in double figures and made three of the team's four 3-pointers. The Lady Pirates' other guards shot a combined 6-for-38 from the field and 1-for-19 from 3-point range.
Hampton started sluggishly on offense, but scored 15 consecutive points in a five-plus-minute span of the first half, turning a one-point deficit into a 22-8 lead. Hamilton scored eight points during the run, including consecutive 3-pointers.
The Lady Pirates led 32-17 at the half, as Hamilton scored 18 and UMES had just four field goals. HU all but put the game away with an 11-2 run at the beginning of the second half.
Freshman Malia Tate-DeFreitas, who otherwise had a difficult evening shooting the ball, scored the last six points of the run to extend the Lady Pirates' lead to 43-22 with 12:44 remaining.
Hampton aims for its 11th consecutive win Saturday at rival Norfolk State, the first game of a men's and women's doubleheader.
Fairbank can be reached by phone at 757-247-4637.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun