Players, fans anticipate competitive NSU-Hampton U. basketball game

By Khalida Volou

Who's ready for the annual Battle of the Bay?

Well, Hampton University Pirates are anticipating yet another win against the Norfolk State Spartans. It is evident that this game has become one of the biggest games of the year aside from the "Battle of the Real HU" vs. Howard University and has had huge turnouts for three years in the row.

Students here are ready to take on those Spartans. "You never know what to expect, they both bring it!" said Christiana Cole, a junior Communicative Science and Disorders major from Alexandria, Virginia.

The rivalry between the two universities started out during the football season of 1963. The two schools are separated by the Hampton Roads harbor. Because these two universities are close in proximity it has made this rivalry a friendly one. "The rivalry isn't like the HU versus HU game. Our Norfolk [State] versus Hampton game is friendlier, it is two HBCU's coming together and fighting it out and then we party together," said Cole.

This yearly match up eventually advanced to include basketball season and other sports at both universities. Today, the tournament name "Battle of the Bay" is used when both schools have any athletic competition.

Now that it is basketball season students from both universities are ready to take this rivalry to the next level. "I expect a big crowd, large population from both schools, and definitely a win!" said Hampton U. freshman Sherena Sabla, Communicative Science and Disorders major from Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference website the Pirates were the last team to win on this ongoing rivalry. Dating back to the 2012-2013 season the Pirates lost both games that season, then during the 2013-2014 season they regained their standing and won both games. During the 2014-2015 season, the Spartans won two games and the Pirates ended the rivalry strong winning in overtime the final game of that season. Reginald Johnson scored 11 points hitting three 3-points.

The current standing of the Pirates is 11-8 and Norfolk State is 10-12. The Spartans are hungry for this win to move up in the conference before championships. "Last year out of the times that we played Norfolk State it was the hype of Hampton versus Norfolk," said Reginald Johnson, team captain of Hampton U. men's basketball. "This time it's a one verse two, we're No. 1 and they are No. 2. It is going to be a big game as far as atmosphere and actually meaning something for conference."

With Norfolk State having high rankings in stats and Hampton becoming better in winning conferences, what are the odds? "I think it's going to be a close game, it's going to be really tight," said Maurice Williams, Hampton University sports information director.

Students from both universities are putting their hopes on this game, especially Hamptonians. "It is important for us to beat Norfolk," said Johnson, "and it is important for us to stay No. 1 at conference to keep riding out, and so far we have been doing good."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. vs. NSU means battle of the stands

By Aaliyah Essex

Pirate Nation looks to take the court against the Spartans in the annual "Battle of the Bay." Hampton will host the double header against Norfolk State Saturday, Jan. 30.

The 8-12 Lady Pirates will take on the 0-18 Lady Spartans at 4 p.m. Hampton University's men's basketball team is scheduled to take on Norfolk State at 6 p.m. With the two male teams sitting at No. 1 and 2 in the MEAC respectively, the matchup is expected to be full of intensity.

With both schools within a 15-mile radius, the competition tips off far beyond the wooden planks. For fans at both Historically Black Universities, the rivalry that dates back to 1963 seeps into the stands.

Renee Stephen, graduate of the Hampton's Class of 1985, still enjoys the rivalry. "HU has always been seen as the cream of the crop academically, and for a while, NSU was known as the cream of the crop athletically," explains Stephen. "This causes each side to have to prove themselves to one another. We're constantly fighting to win."

Stephen took her son to experience the matchup as a young child. Her son Antrell, who is currently a Hampton student, now takes his mom's place in the stands.

"Honestly, when it comes to NSU, it's literally like a tournament," says the junior sports management major. "Teams versus teams. Cheerleaders versus cheerleaders. Fans versus fans. Wardrobes versus wardrobes. It's so competitive because we are the two African-American schools in the Hampton Roads area."

Though both schools are small compared to others in the NCAA, the fans feel that the competition is just as relevant. "This is the Duke vs. UNC [North Carolina] of HBCU's," says junior HU student, Gary Faulcon. "They are both right here and all the students are very active in the rivalry."

Kelsey Jenkins, a junior NSU student, relates the opposition to the NFL. "It's like the Redskins against the Cowboys. It's exciting."

As the day approaches, fans gear up for an action-packed night. After the regulation clock winds down, fans begin to put aside their school spirit in order to unite. "It's a friendly rivalry," says alumna Renee Stephen. "We are rooting for NSU," she says in regards to their recent administrative controversies. "We represent black schools in the area. So at the end of the game, we are together."

Supporters from both sides are patiently awaiting their opportunity to take bragging rights. With both male teams suffering one loss in conference play, the some fans said they are anticipating war!

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton Pirates set sail, hoping to plunder Potomac rivals

By Amanda Hill

Friday, Sept. 18, Hampton University Pirates will go helmet to helmet with the Howard University Bison for the annual Battle of the Real HU football game. The venue is RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. At 7:30 p.m.

The only question that matters is how are you getting there? "I'm not sure how I'm getting there, said Nick Johnson, a senior finance major from Dallas, "but all I know is I'm going."

Many of the Hampton faithful need to be in attendance as they play in Howard's home. Bison supporters young and old will probably be in support of dismembering Pirate pride.

Many Hampton students from the D.C. area said they will be driving back home, packing up for the Megabus or stuffing into two-door convertibles with more pride than space for the weekend in order to show support. Alexa Hailes, a senior, business management major who prepared for her Friday drive, said, "This is my hometown, but you already know what it is: Hampton all day!"

Meanwhile, the visiting Pirates are getting in the mind set to represent their Home by the Sea. Leon Shorter, a senior sports management major from Fort Pierce, Fla., said that they have played in the Bison stadium before and this is yet another opportunity to go out there show Howard just how real this HU is. "We aren't fazed," said Shorter, "this is what we do, we play and are ready to win."

Blue Thunder and Hampton's Greek will be showing up and out as well. Quenton Jordan, a senior accounting major, from Chicago, said he will be driving his car to D.C. to stroll off with his line brothers representing Alpha Phi Alpha: "My LBs and I have confidence Hampton will rise to the occasion."

Nya Harris, a senior strategic communication major from Washington, D.C., interned this summer with Events D.C. in the marketing and communication department and knows all about the hype of preparing for the game. The sports entertainment division was where Harris applied her public relations skills in handling the Nation's Football Classic accounts. "To get the opportunity to be a part of the chaos, I now understand all the work that goes into something like this," she said. "I am extremely excited to see the turnout."

Student-athlete Shorter encouraged Hampton Nation to pump up the pride enough to fill the 45,000-seat RFK Stadium.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton Nation on road again to watch Lady Pirates battle W. Va.

By Jelani Scott

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Getting the chance to represent your university is an opportunity that many members of Hampton Nation get when they step foot off this campus.

That opportunity could come in the form of a conference where there is the chance to show off our intellectual prowess. But there is something about getting the opportunity to attend a sporting event that pits HU against "everybody" [a slogan on Hampton Nation T-shirts] that brings every Pirate together in a way that's unlike any other.

This special bond was again put on display Tuesday, March 24 when students and faculty boarded a bus to travel six-plus hours here to support their Lady Pirates basketball team as they took on the West Virginia University Mountaineers in the second round of the Women's NIT.

With tipoff scheduled at 7 p.m., fans were instructed to meet at the Student Center by 10 a.m. so that they could be checked off and cleared to travel. Conflicts with class schedules managed to keep some Pirates docked on the shore of our "Home by the Sea," but those that were able to maneuver and create some space on their schedule boarded the bus.

It was smooth sailing down I-64 West and I-95 North as all aboard the bus seemed to enjoy their journey. Friendly disputes over which movies would be watched to pass the time or the vocal amazement at the beauty of the mountainous ranges the bus traveled past filled the air and, along with it, came a sense of camaraderie.

Once WVU Coliseum was in view, the anticipation began to build. Once the bus doors parted and fans got their tickets, it took only minutes for everyone to get seated behind the Lady Pirates' bench and cheer them on with our trademark flair.

The game went back and forth and, while WVU pulled away with the win, it was clear at the sound of the final buzzer that every fan in blue and gold or HU blue and white had fun. WVU fans could be seen high fiving HU fans, with one audibly saying, "We had fun with you guys!"

One can only imagine what the response would've been if our cheerleaders and band also made the trip.

I was approached numerous times by WVU fans asking me how long was our trip, where exactly are we located, and fans asked about our men and women's teams. It was nice to see another host site, who, like University of Kentucky on a previous road trip, be pleasant and inviting to an HBCU.

March has been a good month for Hampton U. athletics and for HU in general. I'm glad that I along with my fellow Hamptonians got the chance to travel outside of Hampton Roads and experience these events. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it all over again next school year.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. fans go many extra miles to support their Pirates

By Jelani Scott

SCOTT DEPOT, W. Va. – Dozens of Hampton University students paid $5 each and packed a chartered bus that at this writing Thursday was on a 9 ½ hour, 638-mile trek to Louisville, Ky. to watch the 16th-seeded Pirates play No. 1 seeded University of Kentucky.

Coach Edward Joyner Jr. was still waiting for Jesus' divine intervention for a chance to beat the beasts of the Midwest regional.

ESPN analysts gave the Pirates a four hundreds of 1 percent shot of beating the 34-0 Wildcats. Nevertheless, Hampton fans are here to support their team. For some travelers, representing the coastal Virginia campus is as big as playing in the NCAA tournament.

Morgan Lewis-Harris, a sophomore history major from Baltimore said, "I decided to come on the trip because I have been working and watching the men's basketball team all season, and it is such a great experience to a part of.

"I would want people to know that this is the best HBCU on the East Coast. There is no place I would rather be."

Erica Davis, 2nd year, 5-year MBA major from Fredericksburg, Va. said, "I decided to come to come on the trip because I used to play ball. I know how it feels to go so far and have those fans cheering you on and motivating you to push and do your best.

"Everyone deserves a support system, and we just so happen to be theirs.

"One thing I would want people to know about HU is that we are one. We are a family and we have each other's backs no matter what we go through."

Follow the Hampton Pirates on Twitter at #BelieveinHamptonU and #HamptonNation.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. Pirates, invading Spartans battle for bay bragging rights

By Trayonna Hendricks

"Behold the green and gold," is what Norfolk State likes to say.

Our Hampton University fans in response choose to show those Spartans the Pirates' way. Thursday, March 5 will be the big day for our school's annual Battle of the Bay basketball games.

"The battle of the bay experience is one of a kind," said Daniel Brown, a senior political science major from Greenville, S.C. "We can lose every game in the season, [but] as long as we beat Norfolk State we have bragging rights."

With such a big game ahead, lots of preparation must take place. Jasmine Wynn, a sophomore kinesiology major from Prince George's County, Md., is a member of Blue Thunder, Hampton University's cheerleading team. She said, "When it comes to the battle of the bay games we always prepare our advanced stuff since we know that they're bringing their cheerleaders, and it stirs up competition."

"Norfolk State usually brings a lot of people with them, so we need all of our fans to be just as live."

Munitra Fujah, a third-year, 5-year MBA major from Trenton, N.J., said "From my experience as a student leader, we usually create chants and slogans for the game. We would make sure we wore Hampton paraphernalia to show our school spirit. With the Battle of the Bay game being this Thursday I am excited to see the competition and who will win. I am hoping that other students will have the same school spirit and enthusiasm."

Not only are these big games because of our rivalry, it's also big because it is senior night for some of the players. Crystal Smitherman, a senior biology major, leadership studies minor from Birmingham, Ala. is also a varsity golfer and she said, "As an athlete this game will be bittersweet because it also is the last time I will be able to support other athletes as well. So it kind of has me in the mindset of my last golf tournament, which is at the end of April.

"It's just been such an honor to go to school at Hampton and to have an HBCU experience, and battle of the bay is one of those experiences where two HBCUs can come together and show their school spirit but also unite over a basketball game."

The highly anticipated basketball games will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with the Lady Pirates, and our Pirates will follow up right after them at 7:30 p.m.

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Katy Perry’s ‘Miss-tical Super Bowl Halftime Show

By Jelani Scott

On Sunday, the Super Bowl Halftime Show was both a "miss"-tical and mysterious performance that saw a number of interesting visuals put on display for the tens of thousands in the stadium and the millions watching at home.

Hampton University students piled into the Student Center Ballroom for a Super Bowl watch party, hosted by the Student Government Association. While it was clear that some people came for the food and football, others were cheering for something else other than the two teams trying to win a championship: Katy Perry.

The Grammy-nominated pop singer made her presence known immediately when she started singing her smash hit, "Roar," while riding a 10-foot-tall, robotic, golden tiger.

She then went onto sing a medley of songs that included other notable hits, "I Kissed a Girl," "California Gurls" and "Firework."

Perry's performance also included dancing chess pieces, palm trees and beach balls; and guest appearances by rock singer Lenny Kravitz and legendary MC Missy Elliott, who had previously been on hiatus.

Kaylah Hurst, a sophomore five-year MBA major from Richmond, Va., said, "I'm not the biggest Katy Perry fan. I do like some of her music, but the special effects, like for instance, her coming out on the lion; I didn't see it coming. I would've been scared to be on it.

"It was amazing. She took a lot of risks; I wouldn't have been the one to do it but it was great."

Aside from a select few that were enjoying the show, the energy in the room was rather stagnant, a fact that wasn't lost on some of the spectators. Khanner Hancock, a music education major from Woodbridge, Va., said that this drop in energy was caused in part by the fact that the audience in the room was predominantly young African-American adults, a demographic he believed didn't represent much of Perry's fan base: "I felt the halftime show grew over time. It started how I expected it to be, which wasn't that great. But it got better after Missy (Elliot).

"When Missy hit the stage, everyone paid attention again."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Super Bowl socializing on the Hampton U. campus

By Zhavi Harris, Donald Parker and Jacqueline Hill

Super Bowl XLIX was highly anticipated by numerous Hampton University students Sunday. There were multiple parties and social gatherings across campus.

The Student Government Association and Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta party in the Student Center Ballroom provided food, nonalcoholic beverages and desserts for HU students and faculty.

After what some would describe as a dull first quarter of play and with food rapidly being devoured, it appeared that the Super Bowl commercials drew many people's attention.

The Fiat Viagra commercial and Kim Kardashian's T Mobile commercial seemed to get the biggest reaction from the crowd. Other commercials shared common themes: peace, happiness, unity and family. The crowd reaction was mixed.

Aaron Essex, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Compton, Calif., said the commercials were "awful and, honestly, I don't know what the producers were thinking when they made them."

However, Khalil Pierce, a junior biology major from Long Island, N.Y., said that the commercials were "well-timed given the events surrounding Ferguson, Paris and Syria."

Some people in the crowd were not intensely into the game. Freshman five-year MBA student Michael Eley of Raleigh, N.C., said that he could care less about the game and only came to socialize with his friends and do homework: "I guess I'm really only rooting for whoever is winning."

In the lobby of male athletics dorm Wilder Hall, students and sports fans munched on popcorn and stared wide eyed at the flat screen. Most of the students were rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. Dondre Jackson, a senior music major, said "If Russell Wilson brings Seattle to victory, then the Seahawks are definitely considered a dynasty."

Sophomore five-year MBA Alex Seals said the Seahawks had a great chance in winning the Super Bowl. He hoped, "that Seattle pulls through in the end, however, overall I'm just looking forward to watching a great game."

The atmosphere in Wilder Hall was filled with anticipation while the Seahawks and the Patriots were neck and neck for the first half of the game. The halftime score was a 14-14 tie.

Regardless of the results of the game [which ended in a 28-24 New England Patriots win] and how the commercials turned out, most people agreed that they had a great time at the party.

"I give props to the SGA for setting up this event," said Mya Reed, a freshman psychology major from Chesapeake, Va., "and I hope we can have another one next year,"

The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

What must HU and MEAC do to advance in big-college ball?

By Kristian Winfield

It was a game everyone wanted. It was a game the students thought they could win. It was a game the coach even asked for.

Suffice it to say, be careful what you wish for.

This season, the Hampton University Lady Pirates (28-5, 16-0 conference) made their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament. The ladies earned a No. 12 seed out of the 16 in the Stanford region.

It was the highest seed ever given to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) team.

"We're real happy [with a 12 seed]. We're elated," said head coach David Six at the selection show on March 23. "I thought we were a 12, and it's nice to see the NCAA did the right thing."

But high expectations hit rock bottom in the first round against the fifth-seeded, 20th ranked Michigan State Spartans.

Hampton was sloppy through and through -- an uncharacteristic trait for a team that had been riding an 18-game winning streak and had won 48 consecutive MEAC games.

But Michigan State is not from the MEAC; it's from the Big Ten -- and in the Big Ten, preparation and execution wins ball games.

"We had about two weeks of rest to prepare for them, so we knew their sets backwards and forwards, their plays and their personnel," said Michigan State forward Annalise Pickrel, who finished with 21 points on a perfect seven-for-seven shooting from the field.

The Spartans' flurries of off-ball screens freed up teammates for open threes and uncontested layups. Hampton shot 18 percent from the field in the first half and couldn't recover from a 32-point halftime deficit. Michigan State would win, 91-61.

Aerial Powers, MSU's star freshman, finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds, while holding Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Hampton's star freshman, to four points on one-for-15 shooting.

The Lady Pirates, who are the standard for MEAC sports, have earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past five seasons. Excluding one nail-biter -- a four-point overtime loss to Kentucky in 2011 with arguably Hampton's most loaded roster in school history -- they have never quite stacked up to some of the better teams in other conferences.

Hampton's volleyball and softball teams both made the NCAA Tournament last season as well. Like the women's basketball team, they were dismissed in the first round.

Things worsen for HBCUs in men's sports.

MEAC men's basketball teams have only won three round of 64 games since the conference qualified for an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament in 1981. The conference has a 5-33 record (.182) in the tournament and an average margin of loss of minus 15.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

How are Pirates preparing for Battle of the Bay?

By Aleeah Sutton

During basketball season both the Hampton University Lady Pirates and Pirates go to war with Norfolk State University in the Battle of the Bay. The first battle was Feb. 15 in the Spartans' house and the Hampton men won in overtime.

Today the Pirates can claim another victory in their house.

While the student-athletes prepare for one of the biggest games of the season, students are preparing as well.

Some students put together their best outfits to attract students from the opposing school while others are treating the game as a big celebration.

Senior political science major Biniam Tesfarmarian revealed his plans for the game: "I'll probably just turn up, some of the bruhs (members of his fraternity) from NSU are coming, but we're definitely doing something afterwards,"

The HU Student Recruitment Team (SRT) plans on bringing newly admitted students to the game. They intend to show members of the incoming freshmen class that Hampton U. really does bleed blue.

Today is jam packed with activities SRT has put together to assure the baby Ogres have made the best decision and the game will be the icing on the cake.

Spectators should be "turnin' up," new students could be watching in admiration, but what about the cheerleaders?

Shannon Anderson a junior biology major from Prince George's County, Md., said, "We as a team have been getting ready for the big game. We have been joining forces with other organizations on campus so we can come together and support our team in winning the Battle of the Bay."

Anderson said the Blue Thunder cheerleading team did not have any extra practices but it did meet up with the band and Student Recruitment Team, so fans should expect a great amount of support at the game.

It's safe to say there will be a lot to see both on and off the court tonight.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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