BALTIMORE, Md. – Virginia Commonwealth University used a strong second half and overcame a 12-point deficit to defeat Coppin State, 71-62, Wednesday night at the Physical Education Complex in Baltimore.
Down 11 at the break, VCU shot 55.6 percent from the field, including 3 of 4 from long range, and outscored Coppin State by 20 points in the second half.
VCU snaps a three-game losing streak and improves to 3-3 on the year, while Coppin State falls to 2-5. The Rams have now won all six meetings in the series against Coppin State.
Junior forward Courtney Hurt, who has posted a double-double in each of VCU's six games this year, led all scorers with 20 points and finished with a career-high 17 rebounds. Redshirt-junior Sonia Johnson added a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds, while senior Jessica Taylor added 13 points, including a critical 3 of 3 from long range, and a career-high seven steals. Junior guard Jennifer Lane scored nine points and dished out a career-best nine assists for the Rams.
The Eagles jumped out to a 19-9 lead on a layup by Jaleah Holsey at the 10:10 mark in the opening period. However, VCU responded with an 11-3 spurt spanning five minutes and pulled within 22-19 on a pair of free throws by Lane with 4:33 showing.
Coppin State halted VCU's run on the following possession and reeled off 11 of the next 13 points and Shawntae Payne hit two from the line to give the Eagles their largest lead of the half at 33-21 with 38 seconds left before the break.
Coppin State forced 20 VCU turnovers and limited the Rams to just 6 of 26 shooting from the field in the opening period, while holding the NCAA's second-leading scorer in Hurt (25.8 ppg) to just four points.
Taylor scored the first eight of the second half including back-to-back 3-pointers and Hurt pulled the Rams within 33-32 on a pair of free throws with 15:45 to go. VCU continued its scoring spurt and Hurt gave the Rams their first lead since the 17:29 mark in the first half on a layup less than 30 seconds later. The Conyers, Ga., native then put VCU on top 36-33 following a layup with 14:02 left, capping off the 14-0 run.
After Coppin State, which was held scoreless through the first seven minutes of the second half, knotted the score at 42-42, VCU responded with a 15-4 spurt and pushed its lead to 57-46 on a fast break layup by Hurt with 5:05 remaining.
The Eagles would fight back and pull within three on a jumper by Crystal Whittington with 3:31 to go but VCU scored nine straight to go up by 12 with 38 seconds left.
Coppin State was paced by Payne's 12 points. Leola Spotwood added 10, while Holsey contributed eight.
VCU wraps up its three-game road trip on Saturday, December 11 with a 1 p.m. contest at Charlotte. The Rams return to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Dec. 18 against Longwood.