HAWKS CLIPPED BY EAGLES IN FINAL SECONDS, AGBASI MOVES TO WITHIN FOUR BLOCKS OF RECORD
Feb. 27, 2012
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball lost in the final moments of regulation on Monday night as the Hawks fell to Coppin State University, 48-47, at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center.
In a game that featured numerous lead changes, UMES (10-17, 7-8 MEAC) clung to a one-point lead, 47-46, with 25 seconds left in regulation. Following a turnover by the Hawks, Coppin St. (17-11, 12-3 MEAC) raced down the court and switched the advantage, 48-47, after Ashle Craig converted a running jumper off the backboard.
The Hawks would beat a full-court press by CSU and would take a timeout with four seconds left. The inbounded ball made its way into play but Coppin would force a Hawk turnover and hold on for the victory. The decision sends UMES to its eighth Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference loss of the year.
For the fifth consecutive game, senior guard Kwinnyata Mercer (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) led the UMES charge. The senior converted four long-distance shots to tie a team-high with 14 points. She also had six rebounds and one block in a game-high 37 minutes.
Mercer gave the Hawks the early advantage after she drilled her first long-distance attempt on the game's opening possession. Following an Eagle jumper, junior forward Chelsea Sanders (Rochester, N.Y.) buried a trey of her own to give UMES a 6-3 lead. The teams would trade baskets until the 11:09 mark, where CSU capped a 6-1 run after a Kyra Coleman layup
The Hawks fired back with an 11-4 run across the next nine minutes of action. Coppin went on to score six answered points to even the game, but a jumper by Mercer in the final seconds of the first gave UMES a 25-23 lead at intermission.
A made free-throw by Larrisa Carter evened the game to begin the second-half. Mercer tallied another three-pointer two minutes later, before Shawntae Payne buried one of her own to give the game its seventh tie, 30-30, with 14 minutes to go.
Coppin would go on a 7-2 run over the next four minutes to take a five-point lead with 10:57 left. The game would remain in favor of the Eagles for the next few minutes, but UMES would rally.
UMES outscored Coppin, 13-4, over a five-minute span to take a three-point lead, 47-44, with just over four to go. The run saw outstanding play by junior guard Karona Roach (Bear, Del.), who notched six points to move the decision in favor of the Hawks.
A jumper by Roach at the 4:05 mark would prove to be the final Hawks tally of the match as the CSU defense would hold UMES scoreless the rest of the way.
The Hawks were paced by the impressive play of Sanders, who tied Mercer with 14 points and dished out two assists. Roach came off the bench to notch 11 points and four boards, while senior forward Adobi Agbasi (Columbus, Ga.) had game-highs in rebounds (11) and blocks (seven).
Agbasi stands just four blocks away from the UMES all-time blocks record. The senior now has 227 blocks in her career and has one more regular season contest to topple the record of Kristi Veltkamp, who had 231.
UMES concludes its regular season on Thursday, March 1 with a contest against Savannah State University at 5:30 p.m. The match will be senior day for three Hawk seniors as Agbasi, Mercer and guard Amber Cook (Greensboro, N.C.) will participate in their final regular season game at home.