Monday night the Delaware State Hornets suffered a 69-57 home loss to the Howard Bison. The conference loss resulted in the Hornets falling to 6-14 on the season and 2-5 in the MEAC while the Bisons improved to 8-13 overall and 5-2 in the MEAC.
Despite Delaware State hitting a three-game losing streak, there are plenty of reasons for optimism for the team moving forward. The Hornets had three players that scored double-digits in Monday night’s loss.
5-foot-10 guard Deyonce Thompson was a bright spot for the Hornets. She finished the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Naomi Zulueta concluded the game with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 55 percent from the floor while senior guard Denijsha Wilson came off the bench and chipped in 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Although Monday’s loss against the Bisons wasn’t ideal, there are three major takeaways for Delaware State.
3. Deyonce Thompson provides a spark
One bright spot in the loss against Howard was Deyonce Thompson's performance off the bench. The first thing that may come to mind is the 17 points, but Thompson's most important contribution during the game was her energy and effort.
Sometimes the Hornets struggle to maintain a level of urgency and play up tempo. The 5-foot-10 sophomore did a great job of pushing the ball and leading the fast break. She also looked to pass first which opened up the floor for her teammates. Thompson let the offense come to her which motivated her teammates. She finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor.
Not to mention, she played great defense which led to a few easy transition buckets. DT has played 13 games and only started eight, but she may have earned herself more playtime.
2. Howard’s length was a problem
The second takeaway from the MEAC match-up was how the length of Howard affected Delaware State. The Bison’s starting lineup featured three forwards, Kaiya Creek (5-foot-10), Vanessa Blake (6-foot-2), and Nile Miller (6-foot-1). Clearly, the Hornets have size and it was a tall task for freshman McKenZie Stewart, Naomi Zulueta, and the rest of the roster.
Both teams were evenly matched in rebounding but DSU did not have an answer for HU’s interior offense. Miller finished the game shooting 8-of-111 (72 percent).
Although Blake and Creek didn't have the best shooting night, they created second-chance points for their team and Miller was there to clean up on the glass. Every time Delaware State was on the verge of going on a run, Miller would grab a crucial rebound or score in the post with her smooth footwork.
1. Hornets have roster balance
Despite the loss, the Hornets are still in good shape to make a run for the MEAC title. As of now, Delaware State is in sixth place in the conference at 2-5.
As the season winds down, interim head coach Jazmone Turner continues to experiment with the lineup and extend her rotation. This season’s team can score in bunches, and match up with most teams on both sides of the floor.
The current Delaware State roster is mixed with experienced seniors which includes Wilson and Ja-Naiah Perkins-Jackson. On the flip side, this roster also has younger talent that will continue to mature as the MEAC tournament approaches and for years to come.
Stewart, Zulueta, Brooks, Thompson, and Kiarra Mcelrath are players that will help continue to elevate this program and position the team for a deep MEAC run come March.
The Hornets will suit up next for their match-up on the road against the Coppin State Eagles this Saturday at 2 p.m. (on ESPN+).