South Carolina State outscored Coppin State 4-2 in the extra period to complete its biggest comeback win of the season with a 67-65 overtime triumph over the visitors from Baltimore Monday night.
Bryeasha Blair, who paced four Lady Bulldogs in double figures with 17 points, made 2-4 free throws in the final 1:13, including 1-2 with just 05.5 seconds left for the winning margin. Coppin’s Genesis Lucas got off a 12-footer in the final seconds but it was off the mark, preserving the win for Coach Doug Robertson’s squad, which climbed to 9-15 and 4-6 in the MEAC.
It was Blair also in the final seconds of regulation, putting in a short pull-up jumper to tie the game 63-63 with 7.2 seconds to play; however the Lady Bulldogs had to survive a Chance Graham inside shot attempt that was off the mark as time expired.
The host Lady Bulldogs, down by 19 points with just over three minutes to play in the third period, got to within 51-40 at the end of the period, then outscored the Lady Eagles 23-12 in the final period to deadlock the contest at 63-all at the end of regulation.
“It was a good win for our team and our fans,” said Robertson following the contest. “We played a great fourth quarter. We hustled and rebounded the ball well on the defensive end to five ourselves some opportunities and a chance to get back in it.
“We also got some timely baskets by some of our key players and a couple of unexpected ones as well,” continued Robertson. “We had four players in double figures and we turned them over 28 times. So, it was a team effort, something that we really needed. But I told our young ladies that we have to start the game better and with more intensity and not constantly having to come back from double-digit deficits.”
Following Blair in the scoring column for SC State were Kemoni Jenkins with 13 points, and Kyesha Lewis and Jasmine Williams with 11 each. Three Lady Bulldogs – Kerry Watson, Jasmine Williams and Blair -- had seven rebounds each for SC State, which enjoyed a 47-43 edge on the boards.
Lucas was followed in scoring for Coppin by Maraiyah Smith with 15 points, all but one in the first half, and Graham with 11. Alexis Taylor had a game-high 12 rebounds to go with six points for the Lady Eagles, who fell to 6-17 and 5-6 in the league.
Smith poured in 14 first-half points as the visitors led by as many as 15 in the first half before taking a 33-21 lead to the locker room. The Lady Eagles connected on 43.8 percent (14-32) of their shots in the first two quarters to just 22.9 percent (8-35) by SC State, which continues to struggle to make baskets.
Smith hit Coppin’s first seven points as the visitors raced to a 13-2 advantage when Smith went 2-2 from the line with 2:43 left in the opening period. The Lady Eagles led 20-9 after one, then scored the first four points of the second period to take their biggest lead of the half, 24-9, at the 8:59 mark.
Coppin led 51-40 after three quarters before SC State’s big fourth quarter (23-12) that got the Lady Bulldogs even and in a position to pull out the win in overtime and avenge an earlier 56-39 loss at Baltimore Jan. 27.
SC State returns to the court Saturday when the Lady Bulldogs host North Carolina A&T in the first game of a MEAC doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.