Lady Chants win Big South opener over Gardner-Webb

The Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team claimed a 65-62 victory at Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon in the Big South Conference opener for both squads.

The victory pushes the Chanticleers to 5-2 (1-0 Big South) on the season and marks the team’s first conference victory away from Conway since March 4, 2011. The Runnin’ Bulldogs fall to 4-3 (0-1 Big South) on the season.

The Chants were paced by Katelyn Connor’s first career double-double as the junior posted career-highs with 14 points and 11 rebounds. AJ Jordan, the Chants leading scorer, also poured in 14 points. Shatia Cole and Alexx Puckett chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Mayhana Dunovant led the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 15 points, while Catrina Green posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 boards.

Jordan opened the second half with a trey from the left corner to extend Coastal’s one-point halftime lead to four. The sophomore went on to score eight of the Chants first 11 point in the second half, pushing the visitors out to a 40-36 lead with 14:47 left to play.

Connor dropped in a fastbreak layup with 10:38 remaining to cap a 12-4 run, giving the Chants a game-high 10 point lead. The sides exchanged baskets over the ensuing five-plus minutes before the Runnin’ Bulldogs started to make things interesting.

Gardner-Webb scored five straight points at the free-throw line, cutting Coastal’s lead to four with 3:05 to play. Cole then sank her third 3-pointer of the afternoon and Angelica Henry knocked down a pair of free throws to regain Coastal’s nine point advantage at 63-54 with just over a minute left on the clock.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs then used a bevy of turnovers and rebounds to piece together an 8-2 run, cutting the Chants lead to 65-63 with 26 seconds to play.

Coastal inbounded the ball only needing to run out to clock to secure the victory; however, turnover at mid-court gave Gardner-Webb the ball and a chance to win the game. The Runnin’ Bulldogs found a pair of open looks at threes over the final nine seconds, but Doreen Richardson’s contested 3-point attempt as time expired clanked off the iron.

The opening minutes of the first half saw the teams battle back and forth with neither able to stake claim to more than a one possession lead. Coastal finally took control of the scoreboard as three Chants combined to produce a 6-3 run and stretch the lead to 17-11 at the under-12 media timeout. The Runnin’ Bulldogs refused to go away quietly as they countered with an impressive run of their own to knot the score at 24-all with 3:42 to play. A jumper by Jordan was then immediately answered with a layup by Gardner-Webb’s Olivia Parker to tie the score for the third time with 2:41 remaining before the intermission.

A minute later Angelica Henry picked the pocket of Gardner-Webb’s Jessica Heilig and dished the ball ahead to Puckett. Puckett retreated behind the 3-point arc and drilled her second long-range shot of the game, pushing Coastal to a 29-26 lead. Candace Brown cut the Chants’ halftime lead to a single point at 29-28 with a layup on Gardner-Webb’s final possession.

Gardner-Webb won the battle on the glass, pulling down 52 rebounds compared to Coastal’s 36. The Chants dished out 17 assists and finished with four blocks.

Coastal Carolina will take the next 12 days off before returning to action on Dec. 13 as hosts to Converse. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. at The HTC Center.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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