Coppin St. slips, falls in tourney

RICHMOND, VA. — RICHMOND, Va. - When the shot bounced off the rim, Coppin State coach Derek Brown figured he should have called timeout.

Even if he did, it is doubtful he could have drawn up as good a look as his team got for a game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds of the Eagles' game yesterday against Bethune-Cookman.


Still, after losing a 67-65 decision to the Wildcats in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament, ending Coppin's season, Brown wished he could have come up with something to alter the outcome.

He wished he had called timeout when his team was down three with 16 seconds remaining. Coppin had forced a bad shot by the Wildcats with the shot clock running down and was able to grab the rebound. The Eagles headed up the court, immediately hoping to get a shot at a game-tying three in transition.


They did, but guard Shamara Singletary just missed, and the Wildcats grabbed the rebound. Coppin was forced to foul forward Janice Haynes, who made both free-throw attempts to put her team up 67-62 with six seconds left. Coppin guard Javonti Jones hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to close out the scoring.

"We did get the open look," Brown said. "I had one timeout left. You can call timeout and let them put a defense against it, or you can let it go and probably get an open shot. More and more now, people are just letting it go. They aren't calling plays.

"Hindsight-wise, the ball didn't go in. I said to myself, 'I should have called a timeout.'"

The game, though, was not lost on that possession. Instead, it was Coppin's inability to beat Bethune-Cookman's full-court pressure that led to the Eagles' defeat.

Turnovers provided easy scoring chances for the Wildcats, who often had to convert from the free-throw line after Coppin was forced to foul to prevent a layup. Bethune-Cookman shot just 35 percent for the game but made 21 of 27 free throws.

"When they put a little bit of pressure on us in the frontcourt, we just didn't handle the basketball the way we should have," Brown said. "It got away from us, and they got a few baskets."

Forward Keisha Brooks finished her outstanding career at Coppin with 22 points and eight rebounds. But she also had seven of Coppin's 23 turnovers after getting double-teamed virtually every time she touched the ball.

Well aware of her credentials, the Wildcats came with hard double teams and forced Brooks to turn to her teammates in the second half. She took only seven shots, hitting two.


"The second half, they were doubling," Brooks said. "They were doing that in the first half, but this was more rushed. So I was trying to look for my teammates to work it for a layup."

BETHUNE-COOKMAN - Thaxton 1-5 3-4 5, Thomas 3-12 0-0 7, Cunningham 5-14 10-12 21, Forsthoff 7-12 2-4 16, Mitchell 2-11 4-5 8, Lastrapes 0-1 0-0 0, haynes 4-6 2-2 10, Moses 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-62 21-27 67.

COPPIN STATE - Jones 3-12 1-2 8, Brooks 8-21 5-6 22, Singletary 2-5 0-2 5, Johnson-Stewart 6-15 2-3 14, Muir 5-13 0-0 10, Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Dickerson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 27-69 8-13 65.

Halftime - Bethune-Cookman, 37-33. 3-point goals - BC 2-8 (Cunningham 1-3, Thomas 1-4); CS 3-8 (Jones 1-1, Singletary 1-2, Brooks 1-3, Muir 0-2). Fouled out - Brooks, Williams. Rebounds - BC 45 (Forsthoff 9); CS 42 (Johnson-Stewart 14). Assists - BC 12 (Thomas 5); CS 17 (Brooks 5). Total fouls - BC 16; CS 25. A - 256.