Cole sparks Lady Chants’ rally from 17-point deficit

Former Myrtle Beach High standout Shatia Cole connected on a step-back jumper from the free-throw line with 1:04 to play then sank two from the charity stripe in the waning seconds to complete Coastal’s Carolina 17-point second half comeback and give the Chanticleers a 66-62 win over Longwood Thursday night at The HTC Center.

After falling behind by 17 points to Longwood with 10:30 left in the game, Coastal Carolina began to methodically cut into the Lancers’ lead. Katelyn Connor made the front end of a one-and one and Coastal followed offensive rebound that led to a made jumper by Cole to start Coastal’s improbable 27-6 run over the final 10:02 of play.

Coastal (9-12, 4-7 Big South) would score 12 of its final 24 points from the free-throw line and Kayla Cook knocked down a key 3-pointer with 3:34 to play as Coastal improved its overall home record to 8-4 and 2-1 on its current four-game home stand. The Chants have now won back-to-back Big South contests for the first time this season.

Cole finished as the game’s leading scorer with 20 points, scoring 14 from the field and six from the charity stripe. Alexx Puckett and Cook joined Cole in double figure with 10 points each.

Longwood (9-12, 6-4 Big South) was led by Chelsea Coward’s 15-point, 10-rebound double-double. Mieke Elkington and Erin Neal also reach double digits in the scoring column with 11 apiece.

Leading 28-27, Longwood opened the second half on a tear, outscoring the Chants 12-3 over the initial four minutes of the period. The Lancers took advantage of seven points off three turnovers and scored eight points in the lane in pulling out to a 40-30 lead. The Lancers continued to thrive over the next 5:24 using a 16-9 run capped by an Elkington trey and a pair from the line by Coward to take a game-high 56-39 advantage.

Coastal clapped down defensively on the visitors the rest of the game, holding them to a mere six points over the final 10:30.

Longwood won the opening tip and jumped out to a 12-point lead before the Chanticleers were able to get on the scoreboard. Longwood’s Elkington scored the first four points of the game via two layups and four other Lancers contributed points en route to the 12-point advantage. Cole finally put Coastal on the board as she connected on pair from the line with 15:02 to play before the half.

Coastal then pieced together a 10-5 run over the ensuing minutes to narrow the visitor’s lead to only four points at 17-13. Jaclyn Reagan responded with a 3-pointer and Khalilah Ali added a bucket to put the Lancers back out front by nine points. However, the Chants answered right back with a 10-0 run, which featured a pair of treys from Henry, to take their first lead of the contest at 23-22 with 4:42 left in the period.

Reagan sank two more 3-pointers from the wing to outscore the Chants 6-4 over the final minutes of the half and give the Lancers a 28-17 lead heading into the intermission.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 29.2 percent (19-of-65) and totaled 41 rebounds and 13 steals, while only committing nine turnovers. The Lancers shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54) from the floor for the game and held a 32-20 advantage in points in the paint.

Coastal Carolina concludes its four-game home stand in the second game of a double header with the men’s team on Saturday. The Chanticleer men play Radford at 2 p.m. with the women tipping off against the Highlanders at 4:30 p.m.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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