Last year, the Eagles went 16-0 against the MEAC, marking the first time a team had a perfect run in the Notebook
league. History could repeat itself this winter. Consider what the Eagles did last week to South Carolina State, viewed by many as the second-best team in the conference.
The Eagles showed the ingredients that should send them into the NCAA tournament this year -- quickness, tough defense and adept three-point shooting. After erratic play that left them with a 28-24 lead at halftime, the Eagles held the Bulldogs to 32 percent shooting, did not give up a basket for 14 minutes and shot 58.6 percent, hitting eight of 13 three-point tries to win handily, 77-51.
Not that Coppin State (7-7) doesn't have an Achilles' heel. When the Eagles went 0-for-4 in recent games at Oklahoma, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Boston College, their frontcourt came up short against bulkier lineups. But on most nights, the Eagles can depend on rugged defense and the outside shot.
The Eagles are averaging nine three-pointers, and no one exemplifies their shooting approach as well as junior guard Keith Carmichael. Midway through the season, Carmichael has made 58 threes, putting him in striking distance of Reggie Isaac's career record of 83. Carmichael has made at least four three-pointers in eight games. Seventy-four percent of his 195 shots have been attempted from beyond the arc.
Defensively, the Eagles are forcing 18.7 turnovers and averaging 10.2 steals. And despite their brutal, nonleague schedule, they have held opponents to 66.6 points per game.
Happy new year
Senior guard Missy Quille (Annapolis) rejoined UMBC's women's basketball team last week after sitting out the fall for academic reasons. And what a new year she is having.
In last week's Florida International Sun and Fun Tournament, she scored 10 points to reach the 1,000-point career mark in a 65-43 loss to No. 23 George Washington.
Quille followed that with a historic effort, by recording the first triple double in UMBC history to lead the Retrievers to an 82-56 second-round victory over Columbia. Quille scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. She grabbed her 500th career rebound in that game.
She wound up the tournament with a nine-point, five-assist effort in a 48-36 loss to Alabama-Birmingham.
Quille, who made the all-tournament team, has scored 1,056 points, eighth in school history. With 528 rebounds, she is ninth on the UMBC list. And with 406 assists, Quille needs 61 to pass record-holder Kori Kindbom.
One award wasn't good enough for sophomore guard Cindy Davenport (Old Mill). After earning St. Mary's College Athlete of the Month recognition in November, Davenport won the award again last month. In four games, she averaged 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.9 steals to help the Seahawks head into this month's Capital Athletic Conference schedule with a 4-3 record.
Newman in holiday spirit
After the recent stretch he enjoyed, Frostburg State guard Scott Newman probably wishes the holidays never would end. During the Bobcats' three-game schedule over the break, Newman scored 47 points, including a 12-for-16 (75 percent) stretch from three-point range.
Newman hit five threes in an 85-70 victory over Bethany, came back with a 13-point effort (three three-pointers) in a loss to Baldwin-Wallace, then scored 16 on four three-pointers to spark the Bobcats to an 80-77 victory over Shenandoah.
Smart off court, too
The women's basketball team at Mount St. Mary's obviously plays smartly. The Mountaineers didn't get off to an 8-2 start by accident.
The Mountaineers' off-the-court brains are pretty impressive as well. During the fall semester, the school's 12 scholarship players posted a combined 3.31 grade-point average. Nine of the 12 earned at least a 3.0, and six had at least a 3.8 GPA.
Junior forward Susie Rowlyk, Northeast Conference preseason Player of the Year, earned a 3.8 for the semester, but that was only fourth on the team. Senior guard Maggie Meagher earned the top average at 3.938, followed by freshman point guard Amy Langville and sophomore guard Heather Wable, both of whom earned a 3.934.