Michigan State pulls away early, beats Hampton U. women 91-61 in NCAA tournament

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Hampton University’s NCAA tournament stay was brief, due to a slow start, missed shots and Michigan State’s size and efficiency.

The fifth-seeded Spartans pulled away in the first half and cruised to a 91-61 win Sunday in a first-round game at Carmichael Arena.

Twelfth-seed Hampton (28-5) saw its 18-game win streak come to an end after shooting 27 percent from the field. The Lady Pirates’ big three of Alyssa Bennett, Nicole Hamilton and Malia Tate-DeFreitas combined for 39 points on 14-for-55 shooting.

Redshirt freshman Aerial Powers had a double-double in the first half and led a balanced Michigan State attack with 26 points and 18 rebounds. Annalise Pickrel (21 points) made all 11 of her shots.

The Spartans (23-9), who tied for the Big Ten Conference regular season title, face the winner of North Carolina-UT Martin Tuesday in a second-round game.

Hampton U. struggled against Michigan State’s size and didn’t rotate quickly enough when the Spartans’ post players passed to perimeter shooters.

The Lady Pirates’ last lead was 6-5, and Powers scored consecutive baskets to start a 25-4 run that opened a 30-10 lead. Michigan State eventually opened a 30-point lead late in the half, as Hampton hit just 7 of 38 shots.

Hampton outscored Michigan State in the second half and displayed some intensity at both ends of the floor in the final 12 minutes, but trailing by 30 points, it was too little, too late.

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