|No. 2 Savannah State Beats No. 10 Coppin State||< All News|
|Wednesday, March 11, 2015|
NORFOLK, Va. --- Jasmine Norman and Ezinne Kalu each scored 16 points to lead a balanced attack as Savannah State cruised by Coppin State, 66-52 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Lady Tigers (19-10), the Number 2 seed, advance to the semifinal round where they will play the winner of the Bethune Cookman-North Carolina A&T State game on Friday at 2:30 pm. This will be Savannah State’s first trip to the semis.
The Lady Tigers set the tone from the tipoff, getting out to an early lead en route to a 28-17 lead at the half. Bria Dorsey (8 points) and Norman (seven points) combined for 15 of the team’s points.
“I felt like coming in we had to start attacking immediately and try to get points in the paint as much as possible,” said Kalu, who added three assists and four steals to her stat sheet. “Coppin State is a great defensive team so we did not want to rely on solely jump shots. We wanted to take it to them as much as possible. It established what we wanted to do early.”
The Lady Eagles (7-24), the Number 10 seed, showed signs of fatigue as they committed 13 turnovers that Savannah State turned into 18 of its points in the opening stanza. Coppin State missed 16 of their 22 shots for a 27 percent shooting performance.
“It is tough to get yourselves back up,” lamented Coppin State head coach Derek Brown. “They played better than we did today. They were physical and they were quicker. We played a hard and emotional game yesterday, and to pick yourself back up after being on an emotional high and then coming down and trying to get back up again, is very difficult.”
The Lady Tigers tried to put Coppin State away in the second half, extending the lead to 14 twice. Genesis Lucas and Jordan Swails helped fuel the Lady Eagles charge, but the balanced attack of Savannah State proved to be the difference.
Norman and Kalu, who were both named to the All-MEAC first team, are both seniors who have been a part of the program that has shown improvement each season.
“Coach (Cedric Baker) told us coming into the game that we were going to have to score points in the paint in order for us to win this game,” said Norman. “Ezinne and I knew that we had to setp up as seniors and but our team on our backs to come out with a win today.”
In addition to Coppin State’s inability to score and failure to protect the ball, foul trouble to Janel Lane also played a role. She played only 19 minutes before fouling out.
“We tried to stay more in the paint since we knew that they weren’t shooting that much from the outside,” said Lane, who finished with seven points and three rebounds.
In addition to Norman, who had a double double of 10 rebounds to go along with her 16 points, Dorsey added 12 points, Shanikwa Buie with 10 and Tiyonda Davis with 14 rebounds.
Lucas and Swails finished with 13 each for Coppin State.