Coppin women go OT, escape N.C. A&T

Six-player team valiant in 71-65 MEAC defeat

March 11, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - Sentimentalists favored North Carolina A&T, the six-player team that somehow captured six Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games and won at Morgan State with three women left on the court.

But after a golden opportunity to prevail at the buzzer went awry, sentiment wasn't enough and Coppin State dominated overtime for a 71-65 victory in a MEAC play-in game yesterday at the Arthur Ashe Center.

Coppin (11-17) scored the final six points, four on free throws by point guard Denita Plain, and placed all five starters in double figures to hand coach Derek Brown his first MEAC tournament win after three defeats.

It was another gallant effort by the short-handed Lady Aggies, who were forced into pressing after falling behind 44-32 nine minutes into the second half. They went ahead with 1:28 to play and led by two on a three-pointer by Shareka Glover with 18 seconds left in regulation.

The Lady Eagles tied on an unchallenged basket inside by Leisel Harry (19 points, 12 rebounds) with nine seconds to go before the final fateful drive by Glover. Her shot bounded off the back rim and forced overtime.

"I felt I was going to make it, but it didn't go," said Glover. "I just threw it up too high."

Coppin, which meets No. 2 seed Delaware State in the quarterfinals tomorrow, concentrated on a high-low post offense centering on Harry and Lakesha Wills (10 points, 13 rebounds) and tried to counter the Lady Aggies' strong perimeter shooting with a matchup zone.

"In all phases, I thought we played pretty well," said Brown. "We did our best to get down low, but they play tough and smart."

Senior Shamara Singleterry provided 16 points, mostly from the outside, and provided the complement to the pounding Coppin tried to administer inside.

"I was the only senior on the court and I knew those other 12 or 13 players weren't going to let me go home early," she said.

North Carolina A&T enjoyed a 32-29 lead when Coppin scored 15 points in succession - all by Harry, Singletary and Sherrie Tucker - to seemingly take command. But Coppin soon got rattled by the press and committed a slew of turnovers to allow the Lady Aggies back into the game.

"It's asking a lot to ask six players to play a whole season. They came out and gave all they had," said A&T coach Saudia Roundtree, who was hit by a combination of suspensions and injuries. "At first we didn't get respect, but we put it together on the floor and came on."

Camile Akins, a 1,000-point career scorer, topped A&T with 21 points and Tawanda Jackson added 18.

N.C.A&T-Jackson 8-21 0-0 18, Glover 2-12 5-7 10, Sherman 2-5 0-0 6, Akins 5-10 9-12 21, Richardson 3-10 2-3 8, Holloway 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-59 16-22 65. COPPIN STATE-Plain 1-6 10-13 12, Singleterry 7-14 0-0 16, Wills 3-9 4-4 10, Tucker 5-15 2-2 12, Harry 9-12 1-3 19, Strickland 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-61 17-22 71. Halftime-Coppin State, 29-27. 3-point goals-NCAT 7-22 (Sherman 2-4, Akins 2-6, Glover 1-3, Jackson 2-9); CSC 2-10 (Singleterry 2-6, Wills 0-1, Tucker 0-1, Plain 0-2). Fouled out-Tucker, Harry. Rebounds-NCAT 35 (Richardson 11); CSC 46 (Wills 13). Assists-NCAT 4 (Glover 3); CSC 17 (Wills 6). Total fouls-NCAT 16; CSC 19.

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