Coppin State knocks out St. Joseph's women

Posted: March 16, 2007

Start with déjà vu. Add a desire to make history. Go heavy on the rebounding. And sprinkle a dash of homecoming atmosphere.

Those were the ingredients in a surprising 67-52 win by Coppin State over St. Joseph's last night at the Hawks' Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

"We did the same thing in '95 on the men's side," Coppin State coach Derek Brown said. "We went undefeated in our conference. We lost in our tournament. We came and played St. Joe's in the NIT and beat them, and then we played South Florida in the very next game."

The Eagles will do likewise Monday night in Tampa, Fla.

"We played for history," Brown, a Camden native, said about the win over the Hawks (19-14). "Even though this is the WNIT, it is the first postseason game the [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference] has won on the female side.

"We played incredible defense. We had very light feet. We flew all over the floor."

The crowd of 901 included Drexel men's coach Bruiser Flint, whose first college coaching job was alongside Brown when they were men's assistants at Coppin State in the late 1980s.

It is the first time in 10 attempts that the Eagles (25-7) have beaten an Atlantic Ten Conference team.

Tanezia Harden, a graduate of Woodrow Wilson in Camden, led the Eagles with 18 points. Rashida Suber of Reading scored 16 points. Danielle Anders, a Central High graduate who was part of four Public League championships, came off the bench and scored 11 points. Talia Sutton grabbed 11 rebounds.

Coppin State had a 49-27 advantage on the backboards, 21-3 on the offensive end.

Ayahna Cornish finished her career as a Hawk with 19 points, and Brittany Ford scored 11.

St. Joseph's built a 15-11 lead late in the first half, but the Eagles came back with an 11-0 burst and never trailed again.

"We were a step off - you could tell the 10-day layoff was bad for us," St. Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin said. "They're a very good team. They were more physical than any team we played this year, and we did not respond."

The Hawks had reached the Atlantic Ten title game in Cincinnati more than a week ago before falling to Xavier in the closing minutes.

Coppin State had won 49 straight MEAC games before being upset by Morgan State, 69-67, in overtime of the conference tournament semifinals.

"It was good to be home today," Anders said. ". . . A win like this helps our spirits. It gives us back a little confidence."

Contact staff writer Mel Greenberg at 215-854-5725 or

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