The Morgan State University women’s tennis team awaited the announcement of their opponent for the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship Tournament during a watch party at Hill Field House Monday.
Senior and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Danielle Thompson cheered with her teammates as they heard they will take on the No. 2 seeded University of North Carolina in the first round of the 64-team tournament May 11.
“Honestly, I’m still speechless. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Thompson. “It all happened in my senior year and this is what I’ve been waiting for in the four years I’ve been here. It’s incredible, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”
Thompson, is a native of Nassau, Bahamas majoring in hospitality management. Thompson’s dad started her out playing tennis at five-years old. Her dad spent her entire childhood coaching her, but Thompson realized in order to take her game to the next level she had to search for outside help. While in high school, Thompson left the Bahamas and spent two years at Guizar Tennis Academy in Florida to gain more exposure.
Thompson’s decision to attend Morgan State University came from a last minute offer and she joined the team in 2015. Fast forward four years later and Thompson has become an elite player in the MEAC.
She has been a three-time MEAC Player of the Week this season and went 14-7 at No. 1 singles to lead the MEAC in total singles victories. Thompson concluded the regular season going 9-1 in her last 10 matches, including a seven-match winning streak and was a perfect 6-0 in MEAC northern division play.
She recorded 52 career singles victories, a modern Morgan State record, following a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Sarah Adewumi of Maryland Eastern Shore in the season finale and last home match for Thompson at Morgan State (4/18). The win was Thompson’s seventh straight and helped the Lady Bears secure the No. 2 seed out of the northern division for the MEAC Tennis Championship (April 26-28) at Old Dominion University
The Lady Bears (12-12) captured their second MEAC title since 1994 when they defeated Hampton 4-1.
Thompson was awarded MEAC Player of the Year before the MEAC tournament, Thompson’s doubles partner sophomore Peggy Rooke was happy to be a part of her partner’s success.
“Danielle definitely would have been Player of the Year regardless of who she played with,” said Rooke. “I’m really happy for her and that she’s finally getting the recognition that she deserves.”
Thompson and Rooke have built a solid bond off the court and on the court. They went 11-4 in doubles matches this season.
“I wish we started off better than we did but that comes with growing,” said Thompson. “Because we are doubles partners that helped us to get a connection and to understand each other. I understood her emotions and she understood me.”
Thompson and Lady Bears will prepare for the championship tournament this week with hopes of continuing their run. Thompson is set to graduate later this month and will return to the Bahamas to compete in a few summer tournaments. In 2019 she plans to transition from collegiate tennis to professional tennis.