Coppin near return to NCAAs

Eagles wake up, win, will play for bid today vs. Delaware State

Coppin State 65 Howard 52

MEAC women

College Basketball

March 11, 2006|By KENT BAKER | KENT BAKER,SUN REPORTER

RALEIGH, N.C. -- One win away from another NCAA trip.

That's where the Coppin State women stand after they shrugged off a sluggish start and pulled away from fourth-seeded Howard to prevail, 65-52, in the semifinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament yesterday at the RBC Center.

With their 28th straight victory over MEAC opposition - including the 20th this season - the Lady Eagles can make their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament by defeating Delaware State in the championship game today.

"I think the experience of last year helps us," said Talia Sutton, who paced Coppin with 16 points and 11 rebounds. "We know what it takes. We had a gut check and started digging deep and stepping it up."

Howard (14-15) jumped ahead by as many as 10 in the first half and still led 37-35 5 1/2 minutes into the second half. With all-MEAC guard Rashida Suber contributing seven points, Coppin (21-8) went on a 13-2 run and took command.

"I was rushing it early, just trying to get it done too fast," Suber said. "Coach [assistant coach Kyle] Locke chewed me out at halftime."

"We weren't as focused as we usually are and came out a little flat," Lady Eagles coach Derek Brown said. "I'm not sure we're taking people for granted. It just takes us awhile to get started. Then, we got it together."

The Lady Bison couldn't keep pace with Coppin's scoring prowess and guarding ability - the Lady Eagles lead the nation in field-goal percentage defense and are No. 6 in overall defense - missing all eight three-point attempts in the second half and shooting 31 percent. So they lost to the Lady Eagles for the fifth straight time.

"They don't want to lose and a lot of it is doing it for Sherrie Tucker," said Brown, referring to the senior and two-time MEAC Player of the Year. "She's the inspiration. She got very emotional out there on the floor and saying, `We've just got to pull this out.' " She was out there crying."

Tucker added 12 points and six rebounds to a well-balanced offense. Suber finished with 15 points and point guard Shalamar Oakley added 12.

Coppin advances to play Delaware State for the first time since Jan. 4 when the current winning streak was launched.

"It should be a most intriguing game," Brown said.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

HOWARD-Johnson 2-7 2-2 6, Lacey 1-6 0-0 2, Aden 3-5 2-4 11, James 0-6 0-0 0, Benson 3-10 0-0 6, Cousin 0-0 0-0 0, Kenley 0-2 0-0 0, Carlisle 5-13 2-4 12, Neal 0-0 0-0 0, Smiley 0-1 2-2 2, Moore 1-2 0-0 2, Santee 3-6 0-0 7, Lipford 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 20-60 8-12 52. COPPIN STATE-Harden 0-2 2-2 2, Oakley 5-9 2-2 12, Sutton 5-8 6-10 16, Suber 7-19 0-0 15, Cunningham 1-3 0-0 2, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Noel 2-4 2-4 6, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker 5-9 2-4 12. Totals 25-55 14-22 65. Half: Howard, 29-26. Three-point goals: H 4-17 (Aden 3-5, Santee 1-3, Benson 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Carlisle 0-2, Kenley 0-2, James 0-3); CS 1-9 (Suber 1-8, Noel 0-1). Rebounds: H 35 (Aden 6); CS 40 (Sutton 11). Assists: H 4 (Lacey 2); CS 7 (Noel Suber, Sutton 2). Total fouls: H 13, CS 11. A: n/a.

TOURNAMENTS

WOMEN

America East

At West Hartford, Conn.

Thursday's first round

Maine 73, Albany, N.Y. 56

Yesterday's quarterfinals

Stony Brook 59, Vermont 52 Boston University 66, New Hampshire 60 Hartford 58, Maine 35 Binghamton 72, UMBC 66, OT

Today's semifinals

Stony Brook vs. Boston University, 1 p.m. Hartford vs. Binghamton, 3:30 p.m.

Tomorrow's championship

Semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

MEAC

At Raleigh, N.C.

Wednesday's quarterfinals

Coppin State 70, Hampton 57 Delaware State 55, Florida A&M 44

Thursday's quarterfinals

UMES 51, Bethune-Cookman 41 Howard 71, S.C. State 69

Yesterday's semifinals

Coppin State 65, Howard 52 Delaware State 66, UMES 53

Today's championship

Coppin State vs. Delaware State, 3:30 p.m.

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