College of Charleston’s hot start dooms Lady Chants

ccuwhoops-32putbackThe Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team was unable to overcome an early 25-point deficit against College of Charleston as the Cougars went on to an 80-62 victory in the opening game of the CresCom Bank Carolinas Challenge on Wednesday evening inside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Coastal Carolina (5-5) was led by AJ Jordan’s 20 points, her sixth 20-plus point performance of the season. Angelica Henry and Alexx Puckett each scored 12, while Henry also led the Chants with nine rebounds.

Afreyea Tolbert led four Cougars (5-4) in scoring with 16 points. Jazz Green scored 15, while Christy Hewatt and Alyssa Frye each chipped in 14. Hewatt and Tolbert co-led Charleston with nine rebounds apiece.

Coastal fell into an early hole as College of Charleston jumped out to a 34-9 lead on a Shannon Hines jumper in the paint with 7:49 to play before the half. However, the Chants rallied to close the score to a manageable 13-point deficit over the final 7:24 of the half to head into the intermission with the Cougars holding a 46-33 advantage.

Coastal’s rally started with a 3-pointer by Henry in the right corner for her first points of the game. After a CofC layup on the ensuing possession, the Chants went on a 10-0 run capped by a Puckett free throw with 4:28, closing the gap to 12 points. Jordan then cut the CofC lead to 10 points at 40-30 with a pair at the stripe and 2:29 showing on the scoreboard.

The teams traded points over the next 2:24, but a turnover on Coastal’s final possession led to a Charleston and-one. Green converted a layup in the lane and the bonus, pushing the Cougars back to a 13-point lead at 46-33 as the teams retreated to the locker rooms for adjustments.

Coastal outscored Charleston 18-15 over the opening 10 minutes of the second half to again cut the Cougars’ lead to 10 at 51-61. However, a 5-0 run by Charleston’s Green, Jasmine Carter and Hewitt over the following 2:15 left the Chants down 55-51 with 7:06 to play.

Kayla Cook capped an 8-4 CCU run with a layup with 2:47 to play, making it an 11-point game. But, the Chants would get no closer as Charleston outscored Coastal 10-3 over the final minutes to provide the 80-62 final.

For the game, Coastal hit on 41.1 percent of their field-goal attempts, while Charleston shot just 29.2 percent. The Cougars owned a 50-38 rebounding advantage and forced Coastal into 26 turnovers. Both teams connected on a trio of 3-pointers.

Coastal Carolina will take a nine-day break for the Christmas holiday before returning to the court on Saturday, Dec. 28. The Chants resume play at Big South Conference foe Longwood with tipoff slated for 2 p.m.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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