Coppin women hold on in tournament, 66-60

College Basketball

March 10, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - The day after Derek Brown was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Coach of the Year and Sherrie Tucker its Player of the Year, Coppin State's top-seeded women's team struggled to stay alive in the conference's tournament yesterday.

But the Lady Eagles' post players, Leisel Harry and LaKesha Wills (Dunbar), came to the rescue at the Richmond Coliseum in a hard-earned, 66-60 quarterfinal victory over plucky South Carolina State.

In registering a school-record 21st win, Coppin (21-7) couldn't put away the Lady Bulldogs for good until the finish, after beating them by 32 points in their previous meeting.

"We didn't have it all together offensively in the first half and pretty much throughout the game," said Brown. "But we stepped up and put the ball in the basket when we had to."

South Carolina State (10-19) confused Coppin with a matchup zone early and took an 8-2 lead while the Lady Eagles went 1-for-6 from the field and committed five turnovers. But once Harry (12 points, five rebounds in the first half) entered the game and began thriving inside, control shifted dramatically.

Wills packed 13 of her game-high 22 points into the second half and Courtni Strickland and Talia Sutton also contributed big baskets to help keep the Lady Bulldogs at bay.

"Sometimes, I'm a little uptight when I go in," said the 6-foot-3 Harry. "But today I was ready. I hit two or three baskets and then got on a roll."

South Carolina State - smallish compared with Coppin -came back from double-digit deficits behind Latoya Dent's three-point shooting and Monica Adams' penetration, but never got over the hump.

"We don't have the height," said Lady Bulldogs coach Tonya Mackey. "The biggest thing with Coppin is the inside game. Coach Brown has what it takes."

The Lady Eagles will play again tomorrow against the survivor of today's Howard-Maryland Eastern Shore game.

S.C. STATE - D. Morency 3-11 3-4 10, Adams 5-8 2-2 12, Dent 6-16 0-0 15, Ambroise 4-7 0-0 8, E. Morency 3-10 3-6 9, Fenn 0-0 0-0 0, Hart 2-2 2-2 6, Ball 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 10-14 60.

COPPIN STATE - Plain 0-4 0-1 0, Sutton 5-7 0-0 10, Strickland 2-10 2-2 6, Wills 9-14 3-6 22, Tucker 5-10 2-5 12, Harry 6-6 4-5 16, Suber 0-1 0-2 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 11-21 66.

Halftme - Coppin State, 27-19. 3-point goals - S.C. State 4-16 (D. Morency 1-5, Adams 0-1, Dent 3-9, E. Morency 0-1), Coppin State 1-8 (Plain 0-1, Strickland 0-2, Wills 1-2, Tucker 0-2, Suber 0-1). Fouled out - D. Morency. Rebounds - S.C. State 33 (E. Morency 11), Coppin State 28 (Harry 5). Assists - S.C. State 7 (Adams 3), Coppin State 21 (Strickland 6). Total fouls - S.C. State 14, Coppin State 13. A - 354.

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