The SWAC and MEAC conferences have gone through the trenches of non-conferences. Last season, four teams appeared at the Big Dance. Now, they face conference foes as they vie for a spot in the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Here are the top-five historically black college and university (HBCU) women’s basketball teams at midseason:
North Carolina A&T 11-4 (3-0)
The young storied program is one of the toughest HBCUs in the country. A win over Clemson in December spawned a five-game winning streak for the North Carolina A&T Aggies. More impressively, they’re 5-3 on the road. Deja Winters leads her team with 13.8 points per game as head coach Tarrell Robinson continues his dominance in the MEAC in his sixth season.
Final: @LadyAggieBall defeats Delaware State 69-45 after outscoring the Hornets 41-17 in the second half.— N.C. A&T Athletics (@NCATAGGIES) January 14, 2020
Cinia McCray led the team with 23 points and seven rebounds, while C'coriea Foy added 12cpoints and seven rebounds. pic.twitter.com/k44PNQIN7N
The Aggies sit atop of the MEAC standings.
Texas Southern 8-6 (3-0)
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke can do no wrong in Houston. In her second stint at Texas Southern, the Tigers currently sit in the driver’s seat of the SWAC. TSU is on a four-game winning streak and remain undefeated in conference play. Ciani Cryor and Niya Mitchell have been forces to be reckoned with for the Tigers — the duo leads the team in every category on both sides of the ball. Cooper-Dyke is hoping to continue where she left before her time at USC.
In that short period, she finished the 2012-13 season with a trip to the WNIT and a conference title (16-2). Losses at Oregon and Iowa State have garnered key wins this season, including one over C-USA champ, Rice.
Norfolk State 9-7 (3-0)
After a four-game losing streak, the Spartans have turned to a three-game winning streak to start conference play. Redshirt senior guard Chanette Hicks was named MEAC Player of the Week on Tuesday. Hicks dominated against Howard with 30 points, nine steals, seven assists and five rebounds.
Hicks’ 22.8 points per game, and La’Deja James’ 11.9, are going to be necessary to finish out the season strong. The Spartans face the Aggies next month.
Jackson State 6-8 (4-0)
Jackson State’s tough non-conference schedule seemingly has paid off. Despite the 6-8 record, the Tigers are undefeated in conference competition. Marneisha Hamer leads the team with 14.1 points per game.
The Tigers will look to carry their momentum of a five-game winning streak into their next SWAC battle: a home game against Texas Southern this Saturday.
Delaware State 6-10 (2-1)
The Lady Hornets are the only team on this list not riding a streak. Lyric Turner and Sharajah Collins share offensive duties for the team, with Turner averaging 12.4 points per game and Collins averaging 12.9. Delaware State plays North Carolina A&T twice this month; the Hornets will seek revenge on Jan. 27 on the Aggies’ home floor.
Fwd NCAA D1 Women's Basketball: The Delaware State Lady Hornets move to (2-0) in conference play for the first time since the 2009 season with a 64-54 win over North Carolina Central.https://t.co/URnLjMdMYG— David Caputo (@davidcaputo3) January 12, 2020
Don’t count Delaware State out as a sleeper in the MEAC.
The Hornets just might sting.