Hampton tops SC State 57-46, wins MEACMar 14, 2010 - 12:52 AM By JOEDY McCREARY AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.(AP) -- From intramurals to the NCAA tournament, it's been a wild year for Hampton's self-proclaimed "unknown commodity."
Now David Six hopes he's given the world of women's basketball a good reason to learn who he and his Pirates are.
Hampton's interim coach won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title in his first year, beating South Carolina State 57-46 on Saturday night behind 17 points and 16 rebounds from tournament MVP Melanie Warner.
Quanneisha Perry added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the second-seeded Pirates (20-11), who shot 40 percent and won their first NCAA tournament berth since they had three league titles from 2000-04.
Last year, they lost to North Carolina A&T in the title game. That was roughly a month before the school opted not to renew Walter Mebane's contract after four seasons and Six, a title-winning coach in Hampton - Hampton High School, that is - went from directing the university's department of intramurals to running its women's basketball program.
"I'm an unknown commodity," Six said. "How often does a high school coach get an opportunity to move to a Division I head coach? You almost never hear of it."
So, is it time to get rid of that interim tag yet?
"Here's my thing: I never introduced myself to my players as 'Interim coach David Six,"' he said. "I'm just Coach Six. Things will work themselves out. I enjoy the opportunity and time I've had with them, and we're going to focus on next year. That's about it."
Sophilla Hipps had 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (14-19). They were denied both their third straight upset at the tournament and their first league title in 17 years.
Bernadette Fortune had 12 points for Hampton, which had two players with double-doubles for the first time since 2006 and reached the NCAA tournament for the third time in school history and got rid of the sour taste that lingered from last year's title-game loss.
"We came out, we told ourselves we wouldn't let what happened last year happen this year," Warner said. "We didn't want our freshmen to have to feel that."
The Pirates were in control throughout in this one, pushing their lead to 12 when Warner capped a 10-4 burst with a 3-pointer from the corner that made it 40-28 with 13 minutes left. The Bulldogs didn't get closer than nine the rest of the way.
"We did some different kind of things" defending Warner and Perry, South Carolina State coach Doug Robertson said. "She's just a physical basketball player and she caused us matchup issues just with her ability to rebound the basketball."
Hampton, which won both of its previous tournament games by at least 20 points apiece, led for all but roughly 2 minutes. Warner was especially strong in the first half, scoring 11 points before the break, and the Pirates pushed their lead into double figures on Perry's layup that made it 25-15 with 3 1/2 minutes before the break.
Tiara Knotts finished with 10 points and Paris Alston added 11 rebounds for South Carolina State, which was trying to accomplish the rare feat of winning four games at the tournament.
The Bulldogs knocked out ninth-seeded Coppin State before pulling a pair of upsets, stunning top-seeded North Carolina A&T and beating fourth-seeded Howard in the semifinals to reach the championship game for the first time since winning their second straight league title in 1993.
"I won't attribute any of that to fatigue," Robertson said. "I think we put a little bit more pressure on ourselves than we needed to."
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