Hampton University women’s basketball team, fresh off its third straight conference tournament championship, will square off against Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17 at 1:40 p.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.

The Lady Pirates (26-4 overall record), winners of 11 straight, were given a No. 16 seed in the Fresno Region after beating Howard 54-53 on March 10 for their third straight MEAC Tournament crown – to go along with their second straight MEAC regular-season championship. Stanford (31-1 overall record) picked up the top seed in the region after sweeping the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

This will be the Lady Pirates’ sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament; last season, Hampton traveled to Albuquerque, N.M. as a No. 13 seed, the best seed for a MEAC team in the 64-team era, and took No. 4 Kentucky into overtime before falling 66-62. In 2010, Hampton was a No. 15 seed, falling at Duke 72-37.

Stanford is ranked second in the nation in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls, with its only loss of the season coming on Nov. 21 at Connecticut. The Cardinal have won 28 straight games, including a 77-62 win over Cal in Saturday’s Pac-12 title game.

Senior forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads Stanford in both scoring (21.8 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg), while younger sister Chiney Ogwumike, a sophomore forward, is second in both categories – averaging 15.8 points a contest and 10.3 rebounds per night.

Stanford is averaging 76.9 points per game on offense, while giving up 54.7 points a night.

No. 8 seed West Virginia and No. 9 seed Texas will also be in Norfolk, playing their first-round match-up at 11:10 a.m. The winner of that game will face either Stanford or Hampton in the second round on March 19.

Jeff Cunningham

Special to the AFRO