NORFOLK, Va. -- Christina Carter scored 14 points and North Carolina A&T took control early and rolled to a 65-46 victory over Coppin State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday to head to their third NCAA Tournament.
The Aggies (19-11), who lost in the tournament semifinals the three previous years, head into their first NCAA Tournament since 2009.
Dana Brown and Kala Green added 12 points apiece for NC A&T, which has won 10 of 11 games. Tournament MVP Aprill McRae added nine.
"Extremely happy for my ladies, for our seniors," Aggies coach Tarrell Robinson said. "Our theme coming in was respect. Coming into the tournament, no one was talking about North Carolina A&T State University . our mission coming in was to improve.
"I'm happy with our performance."
Brown hit a 3-pointer to start a 12-0 run that included two baskets from Carter, and that helped the Aggies open a 23-12 lead after one quarter. Brown had another 3 that pushed the lead to 16 early in the second quarter but the Eagles got within seven on an Amber Griffin free throw but the half ended with NC A&T up 65-46.
Carter gave the Aggies a 42-31 lead early in the third quarter but Coppin State went on a 10-2 run, pulling within 44-41 with 2:22 left after back-to-back jumpers from Keena Samuels. Michelle Fitzgerald ended the drought with a 3-pointer and the Aggies went into the fourth up 50-41.
NC A&T held the Eagles to five points in the final 10 minutes and pulled away, scoring the last 11 points.
Keena Samuels had 20 points for the Eagles (16-16).
Coppin State: The Eagles had a nine-game win streak snapped. ... They shot just 29 percent (18 of 63) and made only 1 of 5 behind the arc. They shot 6 of 31 in the second half (19 percent). ... They went the final 4:37 of the game without scoring after a jumper by Genesis Lucas cut the deficit to nine. ... Omaah Tayong had 10 rebounds. ... Coppin won the regular-season matchup 65-59.
North Carolina A&T: Carter had her first double-figure scoring game since January. She also had four assists. The Aggies made six 3s and shot 42 percent but they had 22 turnovers. ... They shared the regular-season title with Bethune-Cookman. They knocked off defending champion Hampton 63-54 in the semifinals.
REBOUNDING ON THE BOARDS
Courtney Powell had 12 rebounds as the Aggies had a 50-33 rebounding advantage. "The last time we played Coppin (in the regular season), we got murdered on the boards," Robinson said.
Coppin State's season is over.
North Carolina A&T finds out its NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday.