WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Delaware State University women's basketball team, the No. 10 seed, led by as much as 11 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but No. 7 South Carolina State Bulldogs took advantage of Lady Hornet fouls and turnovers to force overtime en route to a 72-66 victory in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament Monday evening at the LJVM Coliseum.
Redshirt freshman Tierra Hawkins (Clinton, Md.), the MEAC Rookie of the Year, led Del State with 19 points and 13 rebounds, her seventh double double of the season. Sophomore Tasia Bristow (Baltimore, Md.) followed up with 18 points, four assists and three steals.
SC State's Tiana Hemphill and Tiara Knotts brought the Bulldogs back in the game, combining for 15 of the team's final 21 points of the second half. A three from Knotts tied the game at 57-57 with 2:18 remaining in the game.
With a fast break layup, freshman Keyanna Tate (Beltsville, Md.) gave the Lady Hornets a 59-57 lead with 1:15 left on the clock before Tracey Flowers knocked down a jumper for SC State to tie the game for the seventh time.
With 30 seconds remaining, Bristow was called for a charge and the game was sent into overtime.
The Bulldogs led off the extra period with six straight points, including four free throws, before Bristow put Del State on the board with a three-point play at 1:30 to pull the Lady Hornets within 65-62.
In the final 30 seconds, Bristow would score another four points, but SC State put up four free throws to add to their lead and take the 72-66 victory.
The two teams kept things close in the first period, but the Bulldogs held a slight advantage throughout the majority of the half. A 3-pointer from freshman Alexis Thornton (El Paso, Texas) gave the Lady Hornets a two-point lead at 30-28 to go into halftime.
Knotts led all scorers with 21 points, including 17 in the second half, and seven assists. Hemphill added 17 for the Bulldogs while Paris Alston contributed 12 and Flowers put up 10. Alston and Hemphill each had nine boards for SC State.
The Lady Hornets finish the 2011-12 campaign with a 7-23 overall record while going 4-13 in MEAC play. SC State improves to 13-15 overall and 8-9 in the MEAC and moves on to play No. 2 Howard on Wednesday.