NCCU Surges Past Coppin State, 60-52, with Big Second Half
By KEVIN BUCZEK
DURHAM, N.C. — Junior guard Rodneysha Martin scored a game-high 19 points in leading the North Carolina Central University women’s basketball team to a 60-52 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) victory over visiting Coppin State University on Saturday afternoon in McDougald-McLendon Arena.
NCCU trailed by seven points at halftime, but outscored CSU by 15 (40-25) over the final 20 minutes to move back over .500 in the league. The NCCU Eagles improved to 4-12 overall and 2-1 in the MEAC while the CSU Eagles slipped to 3-13 and 2-2.
Martin made six of her eight free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to help the hosts prevail.
With numerous players in foul trouble, junior forward Deja McCain played all 10 minutes in the fourth quarter and provided four points and five rebounds over that span.
The first quarter featured three lead changes and five ties. NCCU held its largest lead of the half, 12-8, after a jumper by freshman Alyssa Thompson. A jumper by Martin leveled the score for the fifth and final time at 14-14, but a layup by sophomore Oluwadamilola Oloyede with 32 seconds left gave the visiting Eagles a two-point edge after 10 minutes of play.
Coppin State led throughout the second quarter as NCCU was held to 21.4-percent shooting in the period. Senior guard Genesis Lucas scored seven points in the frame to extend CSU’s advantage to seven, 27-20, at halftime.
NCCU dominated the boards in the first half, 28-17, but 16 turnovers hindered the hosts.
Lucas led all players in the locker room with 12 points. However, the league’s top scorer was held without a made field goal in the second half on 15 attempts. She finished with a team-high 16 points with four made free throw after the midway break.
NCCU started the second half on a 10-3 run to erase the deficit. The two Eagle programs then traded hoops for the rest of the period, but a three-pointer by Martin from the top of the arc as time expired put the NCCU ahead, 40-38 at the buzzer.
The maroon and gray scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to seize control. A deep three-pointer by freshman Kieche White gave NCCU its largest lead at 50-38 to cap that surge. Coppin State pulled within six at one point with just over two minutes left, but sophomore Paulina Afriyie scored the next four points to keep NCCU in front to the end.
Martin was 8-10 from the free throw on the way to her game-high 19 points. Afriyie flirted with another double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. McCain and junior classmate Dominique Adams each totaled six points.
The victors dominated the battle of the boards, 59-41, with McCain grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Afriyie and Adams followed closely by corralling eight apiece. NCCU turned 23 offensive rebounds into 15 extra points.
CSU was held to 22.2-percent shooting from the floor. Senior Candice Beverly and Oloyede joined Lucas in with double-digit point totals of 11 and 10, respectively.