UMES UPENDED BY COPPIN STATE IN TOUGH MEAC MATCHUP
Feb. 14, 2012
BALTIMORE, Md. - In a matchup between two of the top-five teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball team dropped a 54-47 decision to Coppin State University before 489 at the Physical Education Complex.
Coppin St. (15-10, 10-2 MEAC) took the early advantage when Shawntae Payne drilled a three-pointer on the Eagles first possession of the game. Mercer would respond with her first three of the day to knot the score at three all.
The teams traded points for the next several minutes, before two consecutive free-throws by senior forward Adobi Agbasi (Columbus, Ga.) gave UMES a 9-8 lead with just under 14 to go.
UMES would move its lead to three after a layup by senior guard Amber Cook (Greensboro, N.C.). The Hawk advantage would hold for the next 12 minutes but three consecutive points by CSU tied the game up at 16 with two minutes left to go. The teams would share the next several baskets and headed into halftime tied at 22.
The game saw a dramatic change in events towards the end of the half, as an altercation between the teams resulted in four players being ejected. The event forced the squads to replace two players apiece, which proved to play a major role in the game, particularly in the second-half.
Without their full complement of players, UMES (9-14, 6-5 MEAC) saw several players step up and take charge. Senior guard Karona Roach (Bear, Del.) came off the bench to notch 11 points and five rebounds, while senior guard Kwinnyata Mercer (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) posted a game-high 15 points. Roach was the driving force for the Hawks' defense at the end, where she posted a pair of steals and took an important charge during UMES' late second-half run.
Coppin St. opened up the second half on a 12-2 run as the Eagles took a 10-point lead, 34-24, after four minutes. Following a turnover by CSU's Jeanine Manley , the Hawks lashed out with a 14-1 outburst over the next five minutes to take a 38-35 lead with 10 minutes left to go. Mercer was the driving force in the run as she scored nine points in the span.
Over the next four minutes, the game would have five ties. CSU would take a one-point lead, 46-45, following a pair of free-throws by Manley at the 5:30 mark. The Eagles went on to score the next six points to take a seven-point lead with 2:41 left to play.
A layup by Agbasi brought UMES' deficit to within five but the Eagles responded with a score of their own on the ensuing possession. The final breath for UMES was exhausted when a three-point attempt by Mercer rattled in and out with 30 seconds left.
CSU would keep the ball the rest of the way and move on to its 10th win in the MEAC this year.
UMES was led by Mercer's 15 points, while Agbasi narrowly missed her third consecutive double-double with an 11-point, nine rebound effort. Agbasi also chipped in with three blocks to move to within 22 of the all-time blocks record.
Coppin St. was paced by the double-double of Manley, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Crystal Whittington had 11 points and six rebounds, while Payne had eight points and four assists.
The Hawks return to action on Saturday, Feb. 19 with a matchup against Hampton University at 4 p.m.