By: Jake Miller
WINGATE, N.C.- Multiple comeback efforts at Wingate were not enough for Coker women's basketball, as they dropped the South Atlantic Conference tilt 75-62 on Wednesday (Feb. 15).
The teams played a tight defensive first quarter, with Wingate holding a slim 12-10 lead after 10 minutes.
Iresha Cooper got the second quarter started with an old-fashioned three-point play, before Wingate would stretch their lead to double digits and hold it for the majority of the quarter. The Bulldogs led as many as 15 in the frame, before Coker would storm back to cut the deficit down to six before the final horn of the first half. In the final three minutes of the second quarter, Shay Jackson and Sydney Shull would knock down jumpers on back-to-back possessions, before another Shull jumper got the lead trimmed down to nine. In the final possession of the half, Jackson heaved a three-pointer from way downtown and got it to fall to get the Cobras back in the ball game with some momentum going to the half.
Coker would have major comebacks in both the third and fourth quarters, generating some nervousness inside of Wingate's Cuddy Arena. In the third, the visitors fell behind by as many as 12, but stormed back to make it a ball game in the second half of the frame. Shull started things off with another jumper, followed by another jumper from Jackson. Shull would knock down a pair of free throws before Iresha Cooper would get in on the action to score on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to five. A Marie Rothrock jumper and two Lindsey Adams free throws would get the game to within three, before Lyric Levester would find the twine at the horn to make it a 49-48 game going to the final 10 minutes.
The Bulldogs jumped out and hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions, before Kaleah Hires split a pair of free throws to get the deficit to six. With Coker trailing by seven, Trai Johnson stepped up and knocked down jump shots on consecutive possessions to get within three. Shull delivered for the Navy and Gold once again, and her made jumper got the game to within one to force a Wingate timeout. Wingate would re-gain the lead and even with another two points from Shull and a three-pointer from Elizabeth Kincaid, Coker was unable to overcome the deficit.
Shull poured in a team-high 12, and Cooper added 11. Johnson tallied eight, while Kincaid and Jackson each scored seven. As a team, Coker scored 19 points off turnovers, 40 points in the paint and 33 off the bench.
The Cobras return home on Saturday (Feb. 18) when they host Mars Hill in the Play 4 Kay Breast Cancer Awareness game. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. at Dan Schmotzer Court at the DeLoach Center. Tickets for the game are $5 for adults, $3 for students and free to all Coker faculty, staff and students.