Hampton claims 3rd straight MEAC title, 54-53

JOEDY McCREARY AP Sports Writer Published:

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Jericka Jenkins hit the go-ahead free throw with 1:20 left and Hampton claimed its third straight NCAA tournament berth, holding on to beat Howard 54-53 on Saturday in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship game.

Jenkins finished with 14 points and Alyssa Bennett added 13 for the top-seeded Pirates (26-4). They came up with three big defensive stops in the final minute to beat Howard for the third time this season.

Tamoria Holmes scored 20 points for the second-seeded Bison (24-8). They erased a late 10-point deficit and had several chances in the final moments but couldn't convert any of them.

Their last opportunity came after Hampton's Choicetta McMillian missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 13.4 seconds remaining.

Holmes took an inbounds pass, but her running jumper hit off the back iron and bounced to Keiara Avant, who caught it as the horn sounded.