|Coppin State Advances To Finals||< All News|
|Friday, March 14, 2014|
NORFOLK, Va. --- Larissa Carter scored a basket following a missed shot with 28 seconds remaining to give Coppin State a hard-fought, 57-55 win over North Carolina A&T in the semifinal of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope. The Lady Eagles (17-13), the Number 3 seed, will take on Hampton University in the championship game on Saturday at 3 pm.
The two teams went back and forth in the first 20 minutes. It featured six ties and six lead changes. Following Coppin State’s Kyra Coleman’s two free throws that tied the score for the sixth time, the Lady Aggies (24-6), the Number 2 seed, closed out the half with a 6-0 run over the last 2:01 to take a 31-25 lead at the half.
“It was a very hard fought game,” explained Coppin State head coach Derek Brown. “It wasn’t the prettiest, but I think it was very interesting for the fans; a lot of up and down.”
NC A&T was able to build on the momentum in the second half, bolting out to a 41-30 lead over the first four minutes. The charge was led by DeAndra Davis, who tallied nine of her 11 and Tracy King, who scored seven of her points.
Coleman, a first team All-MEAC selection, scored nine of her team’s points.
From there, Coppin State turned to its defense and began to chip away at the lead. During a five-minute stretch, the Lady Eagles held NC A&T scoreless. It then became a game of possessions and who would get the ball last and capitalize. Eboni Ross scored on a hard drive to the basket to tie the game at 55 with 52 seconds.
“Both teams went back and forth,” said NC A&T head coach Tarrell Robinson. “It comes down to Coppin wanting it a little more. Coach Brown is by far one of the best coaches in this league and he did a good job of managing the game. His team did a good job of staying in it.”
On the ensuing possession, Coleman got off a shot that missed and Janelle Lane was able to keep it alive and got it out to Carter, who hit the short jumper. The Lady Aggies rushed a shot at the other end, rebounded by Lane, but she turned the ball over. But Coppin State clamped down on defense and forced an errant shot by NC A&T that missed as the buzzer sounded.
“This is the first time that Ashlee (Craig) have gotten this far,” said Coleman. “We know how hard that we have worked for this opportunity. We were down by 11, but the fact that we kept fighting and never quit was proof that we could do it.”
Coleman led all scorers with 17 while King had 11 for the Lady Aggies and Davis contributed 11.
Coppin State and Hampton met twice during the regular season and the Lady Pirates won both times.
“I think we have to slow them down,” said Coach Brown. “They are most dangerous in transition. They put Number 1 (Malia Tate-DeFreitas) and Number 0 (Kenia Cole) on the three-point line and that makes them dangerous. We have to find a way to slow them down and put them in a half-court offense. We also have to be able to score. If we can score the basketball, which can slow them down.”