|Lucas and Griffin pace No. 4 Coppin State past No. 9 South Carolina State||< All News|
|Friday, March 11, 2016|
NORFOLK, Va. - The Coppin State backcourt duo of Genesis Lucas and Amber Griffin combined for 38 points to lead the fourth-seeded Lady Eagles to a convincing 81-62 win over No. 9-seed South Carolina State in a MEAC Tournament semifinal on Friday afternoon at Scope Arena.
Coppin State (16-15) advances to Saturday afternoon's championship game against the winner of Friday's other semifinal between No. 2 North Carolina A&T State and No. 3 Hampton.
Lucas scored 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Griffin tallied 17 on 7-of-14 accuracy for Coppin State, which shot 54.7-percent (29-of-53) from the floor, 50-percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range and 73.9-percent (17-of-23) from the free-throw line.
Jasmine Coleman scored 14 points and Bria Ratliff added 13 off the bench for SCSU (13-16), which upset top-seed Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday to reach the semifinals.
Coppin State never trailed. The Lady Eagles scored the game's first six points and led 20-12 after one period.
SCSU whittled its deficit to as little as four in the second quarter and was within five at 27-22 after a layup by Brittany Drumgoole with 5:32 left in the half. But CSU closed the half on an 11-0 run to widen the margin. Griffin had seven of the 11 points, and both she and Lucas hit 3-pointers to help send CSU into the half with a 38-22 lead.
The Lady Eagles led by double figures the entire second half. SCSU cut its deficit to 10 points on five occasions in the fourth quarter, the last being at 69-59 on a jumper by Coleman with 3:27 left. But CSU outscored the Lady Bulldogs 12-3 the rest of the way to ease into Saturday's championship round.
Keena Samuels scored 13 points, Janelle Lane chipped in with 10 and Tanaysa Henderson had eight, including two 3-pointers, for CSU. The Lady Eagles matched their season high with six made 3-point field goals, two each by Henderson, Griffin and Lucas. Jordan Swails also scored eight points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds off the bench for Coppin State.
The Lady Eagles last made it to the MEAC Tournament championship game in 2014, when they lost to Hampton by a 50-47 score. CSU's last MEAC title came in 2008.