Morgan State runs out of time, players in 2 OTs

Illness, fouls cost Bears in 90-84 loss to Norfolk St.

MEAC women

March 11, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Morgan State had five eligible players at the end of last night's semifinal game against Norfolk State, and none was named Shakira Smith or Monique Liddell.

Those two standouts had missed most of what was the second overtime, which just about dismissed any chances for depleted, exhausted Morgan State in a 90-84 loss to the Spartans last night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

The Bears had only eight players dressed, with the biggest loss being forward Tamara Parham, who missed the game due to illness. By game's end, three had fouled out.

"Tammy does her job very well," said Bears coach Gerard Garlic. "Mainly, she hits that free-throw-line J that was open all day. I didn't have anybody to fill that void."

What he did have was a team that played all-out, especially Smith and Liddell. They were responsible for getting the Bears to overtime when Smith made two free throws with 25 seconds left to cut the Spartans' lead to 67-65.

The Bears forced the Spartans into an errant shot on the next possession, leading to a Liddell rebound and subsequent foul. Liddell made both free throws with nine seconds left to tie it at 67 and force the first overtime.

For about a three-second span at the end of the first OT, it looked as though Morgan had won. The Bears held a 74-72 lead with 23 seconds left, when the Spartans took the clock down to the final seconds and forced up a bad shot by Hope Knight as the buzzer sounded. But a foul was called on Liddell with .02 of a second left.

Knight converted both of the free throws, tying the game at 74 and forcing another overtime, and also getting rid of Liddell, who committed her fifth foul.

Without Liddell and then Smith, who fouled out just over a minute into the second OT, the Spartans cruised home, opening an eight-point lead with a minute left. Smith finished with 20 points, Liddell 15.

The Spartans won despite the loss in the fourth quarter of one of their top players, Taisha Thomas, who fouled out with 10 points. Thomas actually had only four fouls but was forced to leave the game because the referees thought it was her fifth foul. Norfolk State athletic director Orby Moss complained at the post-game news conference, but does not plan to file a grievance.

The loss ends a fine season for the Bears and Garlic, who won the MEAC Coach of the Year Award in his first season.

"That wasn't my Coach of the Year award, that was theirs for them listening to what I was trying to teach them, and adapting it as their own," Garlic said.

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