Hot-shooting Lady Chants gun down Gardner-Webb

Coastal Carolina used hot shooting and swarming defensive pressure to pull out to as much as a 19-point first half lead and held Gardner-Webb at bay in the second half to secure a 54-40 victory  in front of 943 fans in game two of a double header with the men’s team on Saturday.

The win, which was the 10th of the season inside Kimbel Arena, snaps the Chanticleers’ six game losing skid to the Runnin’ Bulldogs and improves the squad to 11-8 overall and 4-6 in Big South play.

Additionally, Coastal’s 14-point victory is its largest conference victory since downing Presbyterian 47-34 on Feb. 5, 2011.  Gardner-Webb drops to 2-18 (1-9 Big South) with the loss.

Shatia Cole led Coastal in scoring for the eighth time this season with a game-high 16 points on six field goals, including three from deep.  Shanika Maddox also notched double-figures for the Chants with 10 points.  Catrina Green paced Gardner-Webb with 15 points and 10 rebounds to collect her eighth double-double of the season.

“I am really proud of the way we played tonight,” said head coach Alan LeForce.  “After losing the past two games by a combined six points, we really needed to start fast and take control of this game and we did just that. The ladies not only shot the ball well but also played great on the defensive end.

“Hopefully this performance will provide us a nice springboard for the second half of the Big South schedule.”

After Gardner-Webb fumbled away the opening tip, Maddox opened up Coastal’s superb first half with a 10-foot jumper just 12 seconds into the game. Coastal then pulled out to a 9-0 lead, highlighted by Cole’s easy layup after stealing a Gardner-Webb inbounds pass, before the Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to score a point. Coastal continued its impressive offensive performance as it pulled out to 19-point lead at 31-12 with 4:43 remaining in the half.

The white and teal clad Chanticleers were also firing on all cylinders on the defensive end in the first half. Coastal forced turned 12 Runnin’ Bulldog turnovers into 17 points and limited the visitors to only four second chance points.

Coastal finished the first half shooting 13-of-25 from the floor (52.0 percent) with seven baskets coming in the paint.  Cole poured in 10 points in the half on 4-of-9 from the floor and 1-of-2 from long range to lead seven Chanticleers in the scoring column as the Chants took a 31-16 lead into the locker room.

Gardner-Webb outscored Coastal 6-4 over the first 4:52 of the second half, but a 3-pointer by Olivia Irick and two by Cole on consecutive possessions halted the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ momentum. After a Green layup, Coastal’s Courtney Grambley sank a 19-foot jumper to give the Chanticleers their largest lead of the game at 46-23 with 10:09 to play.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs then put together an 11-2 run over the ensuing 4:22 to cut Coastal’s lead to 14. However, Taylor Epley, Kayla Cook and Maddox each made shots during a 6-2 Coastal run to extinguish any possibilities of a Gardner-Webb comeback.

Coastal concluded the game shooting 45.1 percent from the field (23-of-51) as it held Gardner-Webb to only 28.8 percent (15-of-52). The Chants also won the rebounding battle 54-40 and held a 24-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

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