The Pirates (17-4, 8-0) solidified their place atop the MEAC with an 83-75 road win over the second-place Eagles (9-11, 6-2) on Saturday.
“She's been playing well,” Hampton coach David Six said. “She worked her way into the starting lineup. She provides an offensive spark for us, and shot the 3 well today.”
The Pirates jumped to an early 9-2 lead, sparked by a deep 3 and layup from Cole, but Coppin State responded, with Carter leading the charge.
Carter, who scored 21 points, made a turnaround jumper and converted a three-point play in the following possession. Coppin State built on the momentum with a 10-0 run but couldn't hold the lead.
With 12:39 remaining in the first half, Hampton guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas, who scored 19 points, hit a jumper to take a one-point lead. But Carter was there again, tying the game at 16 and then stealing the ball from redshirt sophomore Brielle Ward to go coast-to-coast and retake the lead.
After letting the lead swell to eight on a 3-pointer from senior guard Nicole Hamilton, a layup by Alyssa Bennett and another basket by Hamilton, Carter once again stopped the run with a jumper.
“Our mindset is to always be in attack mode,” Carter said. “Because Hampton likes playing us man-to-man, we have the mindset of ‘Can you get around your man?'”
The Pirates began the second half with a 41-35 lead, which the Eagles whittled to four with 10 minutes remaining before it all fell apart.
“At that point, if we had just stayed under control a little bit more, we would have had a very good chance of winning,” Coppin State coach Derek Brown said.
But over the next 31/2 minutes, the Eagles faltered. Hampton went on a 15-0 run, capped by two free throws from Bennett, to extend the lead to 19.
“They calmed down. ... They get emotional, the crowd, we didn't handle that as well as we could have early,” Six said. “We settled down a little bit.”
“I think it's more the mistakes we made than what they made us do,” Brown said. “We let up 21 offensive rebounds, 51 rebounds total — that's a tell-tale sign right there.”
“We could have boxed out more,” Carter said. “We gave them second shots. That and our fouls really made a difference in the game.”
The Eagles chipped away at the lead, getting within six points after Ashlee Craig's 3-pointer, but only 17 seconds remained.
Cole, Tate-DeFreitas, Bennett (16) and Hamilton (10) scored in double figures for the Pirates.
“Any of us can score at any time, so it's always fun to swing the ball,” Cole said.
Coppin State, which had won three straight, hosts Delaware State (1-6, 6-13) on Monday.
“I hope we don't peak too soon. We're playing well right now, even in a loss,” Brown said. “We just have to keep that going, keep getting better, and hopefully we'll see them again in March.”