Coppin women take it away from Morgan

Eagles force 35 turnovers, win fourth in row, 64-51

March 01, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Last night was filled with milestones for the Coppin State women's basketball team, but it didn't come easy against visiting Morgan State.

At Senior Night at the Coppin Center, center Jackie Johnson-Stewart became the sixth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points early in the first half. A 16-0 run late in the second half proved the difference in a 64-51 victory for the Lady Eagles.

Balance on offense and a trapping defense that forced Morgan into 35 turnovers worked well for Coppin, which finished the regular season 14-13 (12-6 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) to enjoy its first winning campaign since 1995-96.

The victory marked the fourth straight over Morgan and gave the Lady Eagles a 20-19 edge in the all-time series between the rivals.

Freshman guard Jeaneen White led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds, sophomore LaKesha Wills added 15 points, and Johnson-Stewart and fellow senior Shannon Muir each had 11.

Morgan, which got a team-high 14 points from Chanelle Scott, closed out the season 1-26, 1-17 in conference play.

Already assured of the fifth seed with a bye in hand for next week's conference tournament, Coppin played sluggishly for most of the first half and well into the second half before finally taking charge.

Trailing 46-43 with 9:48 left, Coppin played better defensively and finished at the other end with two consecutive drives from White in the middle of the pivotal 16-0 run. Muir's jumper with 3:55 left widened the margin to 59-46, with a fourth straight win on its way.

"I guess it finally kicked in that they wanted to win the game," said Coppin coach Derek Brown. "With young people sometimes it just doesn't kick in until you get threatened. I told them with seven minutes left to go, if you want to win the game you're going to have to do it now because if you wait until the two or three-minute mark, it's anybody's game."

Recognized before the game on Senior Night, Johnson-Stewart was quickly honored again when she hit the first of two free throws at the 17:02 mark to reach 1,000 points. She went on to score Coppin's next seven points to move up to fifth on the all-time scoring list, but the Lady Eagles could never build more than a six-point lead in the half.

"There was a lot of emotion involved - it was my last game playing at the Coppin Center, I scored my 1,000th point, my parents were here to see me play for the first time in a while, so I was pretty excited and nervous," Johnson-Stewart said.

For Morgan, another good shooting night (47 percent) was wasted because of costly turnovers. In the teams' first meeting, a 54-49 Coppin win, the Lady Bears also threw the ball away 35 times.

"Same story, different day," said Morgan coach Gerard Garlic. "Down the stretch, it was turnovers. Talent-wise, I think we can match up with anybody, but it's a matter of us being able to take better care of the ball right now."

MORGAN STATE-Coleman 5-9 3-4 13, Scott 5-12 4-6 14, Alston 0-3 0-2 0, Cox 6-8 1-3 13, Jackson 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 2-2 0-0 4, Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, Neal 0-3 3-3 3. Totals 20-42 11-18 51. COPPIN STATE-Johnson-Stewart 3-9 5-6 11, Muir 5-14 0-1 11, Williams 0-1 0-5 0, White 5-13 7-8 17, Singleterry 0-3 0-0 0, Plain 2-5 2-4 6, Reese 1-1 0-0 2, Strickland 0-2 1-2 1, Dickerson 0-1 1-2 1, Dickerson 0-1 1-2 1, Wills 4-16 7-12 15, Harry 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-66 23-40 64. Halftime-Coppin State 35-30. 3-point goals-Morgan State 0-2 (Coleman 0-1, Jackson 0-1); Coppin State 1-8 (Muir 1-5, White 0-1, Wills 0-2). Fouled out-none. Rebounds-Morgan State 36 (Scott, Alston 8); Coppin State 41 (Wills 11). Assists-Morgan State 6 (Alston 3); Coppin State 6 (Johnson-Stewart, White 2). Total fouls-Morgan State 25; Coppin State 18. A-312.

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