BALTIMORE -- The Coppin State women's basketball team will open its 2009-10 season on Friday (Nov. 13) by hosting West Virginia State in the Coppin State Classic.
The Eagles will face the Yellow Jackets at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the Coppin Center, while the men's team will square off against Lincoln (Pa.) at 7:30 p.m.
Coppin State will face St. Augustine's on Saturday (Nov. 14) at 5:30 p.m. on the second, and final, day of the Classic.
The Eagles were selected to finish third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll as voted upon by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
Coppin State enters the 2009-10 season having made five consecutive postseason trips after earning a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament last season. The Eagles return two starters and seven letterwinners as they attempt to extend their streak to six straight.
CSU posted a 14-15 overall record, but finished 12-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and finished second in the standings. The Eagles lost to Florida A&M in the MEAC Tournament quarterfinals and their season ended in the opening round of the WNIT at West Virginia.
The Eagles lost four seniors from last season’s team including MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Whitney Cunningham. Cunningham, who also earned First Team All-MEAC honors, averaged 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season. The Eagles also lost Danielle Anders (12.1 ppg), Jennifer Martin (5.7 rpg) and Tanezia Harden (3.3 rpg) to graduation.
But the cupboard is hardly bare as the Eagles return a host of players with significant playing experience and a talented crop of newcomers.
Junior guard Shante Cummings
is the Eagles top returning scorer after averaging 7.8 points per game last season. Cummings, who started 27 games last season, is also the top returning rebounder after averaging 3.9 per game last year.
Seniors Sesalie Johnson
, Lakeytah Irving
and Chanelle Downing
all return giving the Eagles a solid nucleus. Johnson made 19 starts last season and averaged 3.4 points and 2.5 assists per game, while Irving is the Eagles second leading returning scorer after averaging 5.3 points a season ago. Downing played in 23 games and averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest.
Sophomores Jeanine Manley
and Crystal Whittington
are expected to play an increased role this season. Manley will anchor the CSU frontline after posting 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while the versatile Whittington averaged 1.8 points and 0.9 rebounds in 2008-09.
Head coach Derek Brown
, who enters his 11th
year at Coppin State, will count on several freshmen to contribute to the program immediately.
The contest on Saturday against St. Augustine's will mark Coppin State's final game in the Coppin Center as the Eagles will play their next home game against UMBC on Dec. 12 in the new 4,100-seat Physical Education Complex.