Coppin women surrender lead, go home

In the MEAC, Hampton beats Eagles again, 60-52

March 08, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - None of Maryland's six entries in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference basketball tournament advanced as far as the semifinals.

That was guaranteed last night when Coppin State's women wasted a 10-point halftime advantage, fell to Hampton, 60-52, and became the last state survivor to depart from the Richmond Coliseum.

Fourth-seeded Hampton (16-13) posted its third victory of the year over the Lady Eagles and will meet top-seeded Howard today in the semifinals. Coppin finished the season 14-14.

This was a Jekyll and Hyde game of sorts with Coppin using superior free-throw shooting and some inside might to capture a 33-23 lead at halftime, then mysteriously crumbling in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

"I think we surprised ourselves with that halftime lead, and then we came out in disbelief for the second half," said Eagles coach Derek Brown. "We sort of walked around like zombies for the first five minutes and that brought up their confidence.

"The momentum turned all their way and stayed that way for most of the half."

The Eagles went without a field goal for almost 9 1/2 minutes, until Jackie Johnson-Stewart finally scored inside.

But the Lady Pirates followed with six more consecutive points to climax a 24-5 run that opened the final quarter and provided them a nine-point lead.

Coppin recovered with a three-pointer by Shannon Muir that cut Hampton's lead to 52-50 before a driving layup by All-MEAC guard LaShondra Dixon (17 points, four assists, three steals) and a jumper by Lineni Noa gave the Pirates the necessary breathing room to finish.

Noa was playing her first game in more than a month after collapsing on the court in Hampton's home victory over Coppin, 73-47. She scored 11 points and gave the team a psychological lift.

"I'm very grateful to be back," she said.

Coppin entered the night with a four-game winning streak and a school-record-tying 12 MEAC wins, but lost the No. 4 seed to Hampton because of the Pirates' sweep in the regular season.

While concluding a career in which she became the school's fifth all-time leading scorer, Johnson-Stewart finished with team highs of 16 points and six rebounds.

COPPIN STATE - Plain 2-5 2-3 6, `White 2-9 0-0 4, Singletary 3-5 0-0 7, Wills 1-5 0-0 2, Johnson-Stewart 4-8, 8-9 16, Williams 0-2 6-6 6, Strickland 1-4 0-0 2, Dickerson 0-1 0-0 0, Muir 4-6 0-0 9. Totals 17-45 16-18 52.

HAMPTON - Lancaster 1-1 1-3 3, Dixon 5-15 5-6 17, Noa 5-11 1-2, 11, Brathwaite, 5-9 4-6, 14, Johnson 1-2 2-3 4, Smith 1-1 1-2 3, Faust 1-3 0-0 2, Ellis 0-2 0-0 0, Burnham 0-0 0-0 0, Blanding 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 21-48 16-24 60.

Halftime: Coppin State, 33-23. 3-point goals: Coppin 2-6 (Singletary 1-2, Muir 1-2, Williams 0-1, White 0-1). Hampton 2-11 (Dixon 2-7, Noa 0-3, Ellis 0-1). Rebounds: Coppin 31 (Johnson-Stewart 6); Hampton 30 (Dixon 5). Assists: Coppin 10 (Plain 4); Hampton 9 (Dixon 4). A: N/A

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