Hornet women earn first MEAC win against North Carolina Central

DOVER — David Caputo emerged from the locker room drenched in water.

The celebration for his first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win was a wet one.

The Delaware State women’s basketball team earned a 71-61 victory over North Carolina Central on Monday night. It was the first conference win for the first-year head coach and also the first win over a Division I opponent.

The Hornets (1-3 MEAC, 3-13 overall) snapped an eight-game losing streak.

“It’s amazing,” said senior NaJai Pollard. “It’s about time. We put everything together.”

Pollard led the way for Delaware State, recording a double-double. She scored 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds.

Keke Barber followed with 16 points for the Hornets. Lanayjha Ashe also finished in double figures, with all 10 of her points coming at the free throw line.

Delaware State’s only two wins of the year prior to Monday came against Post and Cheyney — two non-Division I teams.

“I’m happy for my players,” Caputo said. “I knew that first one is the hardest one to get. So to get that first one, I’m happy for them. I’m proud of my kids, they’re really trying.”

The game was tied 28-28 at halftime before the Hornets out-scored North Carolina Central 20-15 in the third quarter and led for the entire fourth.

“I think we’re getting better defensively,” Caputo said. “We’re guarding the whole shot clock better.”

MEN, North Carolina Central 71, Delaware State 70: Jordan Perkins made a go-ahead layup for North Carolina Central with a second left to deal Delaware State a narrow MEAC loss.

Perkins took an inbounds pass and went coast-to-coast, finishing a layup through contact. Perkins then recovered and blocked a desperation heave from DSU to seal it.

“You can’t let him get to the rim,” said DSU coach Eric Skeeters. “Can’t do that.

The Hornets had battled back with a 12-2 run early in the second half. The two teams traded the lead multiple times in the waning minutes.

Pinky Wiley then drained a fall-away three-pointer with six seconds left to put DelState on top 70-69.

Perkins received the ball at the other foul-line and drove by three DSU defenders on his way to the basket.

“You got to force him to make some jumper or pass it,” Skeeters said. “Nobody wanted to foul but somebody has to step up.”

Wiley paced the Hornets (3-14 overall, 0-4 MEAC) with 19 points. Kevin Larkin (a Sussex Tech product) and Saleik Edwards each netted 14 points.

Raasean Davis scored 25 points to lead North Carolina Central. Davis finished a perfect 12-of-12 on his field goal attempts.

The Hornets have now lost six games in a row.

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