Coppin women move to MEAC semis, 64-58

Lady Eagles pull away late to oust Bethune-Cookman

March 12, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va.-As usual, it is Coppin State that will carry Baltimore's banner deepest into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference basketball tournament.

The Lady Eagles joined the Coppin men in the semifinals yesterday, overcoming early jitters with ferocious defense to rally past Bethune-Cookman, 64-58, at the Richmond Coliseum.

Next up for third-seeded Coppin (18-10) is second-seeded Hampton in tonight's late game.

The victory yesterday was the fifth straight and seventh in the past eight games for the Lady Eagles, who pulled away during the final nine minutes. They were the last of 22 men's and women's MEAC teams to start tournament play.

"It took us awhile to get our feet moving and stop worrying about what I was saying, [what] the referees were doing or what the fans thought," said Coppin coach Derek Brown. "We had to stop getting on our heels and make them get on theirs."

Bethune-Cookman (14-14) spurted to a 25-12 advantage before the Lady Eagles received a boost from their reserves to trim the lead to one point at the half.

"The subs got us rolling in the latter part of the first half," Brown said. "Then, the first team sort of fed off that."

The Lady Wildcats, who had won four in a row, went 0-for-5 from the field and committed six of their 24 turnovers in the final six minutes of the first half.

They had a similar woeful stretch after the game was tied at 44. With Sherrie Tucker (12 points) scoring from the outside and Leisel Harry (11 points, 13 rebounds) controlling the lane, the Lady Eagles pulled away while Bethune-Cookman went more than seven minutes without a basket.

The Lady Wildcats also suffered a blow when one of their big threats, Latonya Reed, picked up her third and fourth fouls in a two-minute stretch early in the second half and went to the bench for 10 minutes.

"We got a little complacent and didn't do a good job of getting open," Wildcats coach Sandra Booker said. "Coppin played very hungry, and we were just standing around. We had too many watchers, and we were spending more time going east and west than going to the basket."

Sarah Johnson had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Bethune-Cookman, which walloped Coppin by 18 points Jan. 5 in Baltimore. Talia Sutton topped the Lady Eagles with 16 points.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN-Stephens 1-5 3-6 6, Johnson 4-9 9-12 17, Clark 4-11 0-0 10, Forsthoff 3-8 0-0 6, Reed 4-10 0-0 9, Winston 0-0 0-0 0, Boykin 0-1 0-0 0, Calcagno 0-0 0-0 0, Mason 2-6 1-3 6, Schlaegel 0-1 0-1 0, Williams 1-6 0-0 2, Simpson 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 19-58 15-24 58.

COPPIN STATE-Harry 5-10 1-3 11, Lewis 0-5 4-4 4, Sutton 6-8 4-6 16, Reese 2-7 0-0 4, Tucker 4-13 4-6 12, Boyd 1-4 3-5 6, Strickland 3-5 1-4 7, Armstrong 0-2 0-2 0, Jefferson 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 22-55 19-32 64.

Half: Bethune-Cookman, 27-26. 3-point goals: BC 5-16 (Clark 2-3, Stephens 1-1, Reed 1-4, Mason 1-5, Forsthoff 0-1, Johnson 0-2); CS 1-4 (Boyd 1-3, Strickland 0-1). Rebounds: BC 48 (Forsthoff 13); CS 37 (Harry 13). Assists: BC 5 (Stephens 4); CS 11 (Reese, Sutton 4). Total fouls: BC 22, CS 20. Fouled out: Clark, Stephens. A: n/a.

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