BALTIMORE — Both teams knew how significant this game was because it was the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game of the season.
Despite Coppin State’s second-half comeback from 11points down to force overtime, offense rebounding was a huge factor in Morgan State’s 70-63 victory over the Lady Eagles on Dec. 3 at Hill Field House in Baltimore, Md.
For Morgan, the tandem of guards Bianca Jarrett, a senior, and sophomore Tracey Carrington did major damage to the Lady Eagles from the second half going forward. Both players recorded double-doubles on the night. Jarrett recorded 26 points and 10 rebounds while Carrington scored 21 points and brought down 13 rebounds.
“I think we stepped it up big, said Jarrett after the win. “We had to. We are the leading scorers on the team. We definitely stepped up and did our job.”
Offense rebounding decided the game according to Coppin head coach Derek Brown. Morgan State (4-5 overall, 1-0 MEAC) outworked Coppin 26-14 when it came to offense rebounds and out scored them 18-8 in second chance points.
“That was a problem. Second-chance shots really hurt us. If you look at the number of shot attempts, (Morgan) took 81 shots,” said Brown. “Most of those were second shots. You don’t really have that many possessions to shoot 81 times. So you know that with 26 offensive rebounds, that’s the game right there.”
Both teams played fairly even in the first half. However, they struggled with converting shots inside the paint. Therefore, neither team could find a rhythm until the second half.
The teams were tied at 25 at halftime.
In the second half, Morgan State struck first. With the game tied at 34 on a layup by Coppin State junior forward Kyra Coleman with 15:09 left, the Jarrett Carrington connection turned it on in a 12-2 run.
Coppin State (3-4 overall, 0-1 MEAC) fought back using their defense. They double-teamed Jarrett and dared other Morgan players to beat them. It worked to the Lady Eagles’ advantage in their 10-1 run led by a jumper from junior forward Larissa Carter and finished by a three-point jumper from Jaleah Holsey to cut the deficit down to 51-49 with 5:19 remaining.
Morgan had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Jarrett missed a short jumper, Dinah Jones rebounded and gave it to Carrington, whose jumper clanged off the side rim as the buzzer sounded.
However, Morgan found an extra gear in overtime. It started on defense as Kyra Coleman, who scored 16 points on the night, drove to the basket and was met by Simone Sampson, who stole the ball and was fouled by Coleman. Sampson converted the two free throws and MSU ended up scoring the first six points in the session on a Jarrett lay-up and two more free throws from Carrington. That gave the Lady Bears a 66-60 lead with 3:31 left.
Senior guard Shawntae Payne scored the only field goal in overtime on a jumper from just inside the three-point line at the top of the key to cut the deficit to 66-62 with 2:38 remaining. That is as close as Coppin came to closing the point gap, because Jarrett and Carrington took over form there and Coppin had shooting issues.
The Lady Eagles were only 1-of-11 in field goals during the overtime session. Coppin only recorded two shot attempts from the free throw line while Morgan converted all six of their overtime free throw opportunities.
Carrington was elated about her teammates’ contributions in the game, saying, “Since a lot of people fouled out, a lot of our bench really stepped up. Our freshmen Dinah Jones [forward] and Simone Sampson [forward] really stepped up. We told them before the game it isn’t just playing as a freshman; you just go out there and play. I think they played a big part in rebounding, especially in overtime.”
Coppin travels to Washington, D.C. to take on American University on Dec. 5 while Morgan State’s players, after final exams, embark on a road trip that starts at Elon University in Elon North Carolina on Dec. 13.