Coppin State's wrenching, 75-74 loss to North Carolina A&T turned into a half-court melee that lasted several minutes before order was restored at Coppin's Physical Education Complex Saturday.
Moments after players from both teams had performed the post-game handshake, Coppin's 6-foot-3 Jeanine Manley wound up in the middle of several A&T players when the first punches were thrown. Fights spread across the court before peace was achieved.
There were several drops of blood leading from the court to the Coppin locker room, where first head coach Derek Brown and then Coppin athletics director Derrick Ramsey spoke to the players.
"The thing that I want to express more than anything is that we're bigger than this," Ramsey said outside the women's locker room. "This is not what we teach over here … this is not what Coppin is about.
"This is an embarrassing moment for our institution, for my athletic program. This will not be tolerated. I have expressed that with my women."
Ramsey said he planned no action until he had a chance to review tape of the game's finish.
Nikia Gorham scored A&T's final five points in the game, including the game-winning follow with 2.2 seconds left. Coppin's Ashley Craig launched a half-court shot before the buzzer and was knocked to the floor, although no foul was called.
A&T head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs said she did not know what triggered the incident that left one of her players, Jaleesa Sams, bloodied, and a player from Coppin, Larrisa Carter, needing medical attention for a cut on her arm.
Brown was speaking with Cage-Bibbs when the fighting broke out.
"If it ever happens again, we'll get a whole new team," Brown said. "It was embarrassing to my school, to my athletic director, to my president [Reginald Avery].
"This was a very emotional game. In no way are my girls like that. This is probably the nicest group of girls I've ever had. I've never had any problems with any one of them. They all come from good families and they certainly act that way. … I think it was just the emotion of the game, how it [ended] and things got out of hand."