The Shore struggles form the field, falls at Coppin
BALTIMORE, Maryland -
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore struggled to hit shots once again on Monday night against Coppin State (6-14, 5-3 MEAC) at the Physical Education Complex Arena and dropped a 69-63 decision to the host Eagles.
The game was a microcosm for the teams struggles this season as the misses piled up and the frustration built as the game progressed. The Hawks trailed from two minutes into the contest, cut the CSU lead to three points in the third, but could get no closer late.
“We didn’t make shots,” associate Head coach Sidney Raikes said. “At the end of the day when you don’t make shots it kind of deflates you. You get a little slower offensively. You even more slower defensively and you get frustrated. A lot of times you miss assignments and you do things you don’t typically do.
“When you are making shots, you are feeling good about yourself and everything seems to be going right. I think that was pretty much it today.”
The Hawks (6-15, 3-6 MEAC) found no answer for Coppin sophomore center Chance Graham, who had a career night with 21 points and 20 rebounds. She was one of four Eagles in double figures including redshirt senior Genesis Lucas who added 17 points.
“I thought we played half decent defensively,” Raikes said. “We allowed the kid 20 rebounds though and that is a major problem when we scouted her and understood what she was going to do. We expected Lucas to get 17 or 18, but we weren’t expecting 21 and 20.”
Junior Ciani Byrom (Winston-Salem North Carolina) led The Shore with 14 points.
Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky) fouled out late in the contest, but finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Jordyn Smith (Durham, North Carolina) — who also fouled out — finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Hawks were in foul trouble early and that did hinder their efforts in slowing Graham.
“That was important,” Raikes said. “We are kind of think right now at the four and the five with Chioma (Nkpuechina) being hurt, that is an additional body and I thought them picking up some unnecessary fouls hurt us in the long run because we need them on the floor to produce and we need them on the floor to rebound.”
The Shore shot 30 percent from the field, 20 percent from behind the arc, but did manage 11-of-16 (69 percent) from the free throw line. The did win the overall rebounding battle 51-47 despite the output by Graham and again hit the offensive glass hard with a season-high 28 offensive boards. The Hawks bench scored 10 points, while CSU had no bench scoring.
“I was fine with the overall effort,” Raikes said. “I think they played hard, played relatively smart, just didn’t make shots: wide open shots and layups — and it adds up.”
The game was an unusual head coaching debut for Raikes. He was in the lead chair with head coach Fred Batchelor absent handling a family issue, but the location was a familiar one.
Not only did Raikes star for the Eagles as a player (He’s the sixth all-time scorer), he was also a Coppin assistant coach for eight seasons before spending last year at Towson.
“I had a little anxiety in the beginning,” Raikes said. “But just as a player and competitor when I competed I kind of forgot when the ball went up where I was at and just focused on trying to get the young ladies to do the right things offensively and defensively.
“I was just trying to keep the fire under them and help them understand that when you are on the road in someone else’s gym, there is a certain mentality and attitude that you are going to have because they are going to fight to the end on their home floor. It can be done, but it’s not easy.”
Following, the battle in Baltimore, the Hawks will be off until they play at Florida A&M on Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.
For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.
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