Lady Chants close Kimbel Arena with loss to Lady Bucs

Charleston Southern used a 13-1 second half run to turn a tie game into a 12-point lead it would not relinquish in route to handing Coastal Carolina a 70-55 loss on Saturday in the final game held in Kimbel Arena.

With the loss the Chanticleers fall to 13-12 overall and 6-10 in Big South play as Charleston Southern improves to 16-11 (9-7 Big South) with the win. Coastal finishes its final season in Kimbel Arena with a program-best 12-4 record.

Senior Olivia Irick and sophomore Angelica Henry led Coastal with 14 points apiece on a combined 11-of-23 from the floor. Charleston Southern’s Lakeitha Alston led all scorers with 18 points as Rachelle Coward recorded a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

The Chanticleers maintained their five point halftime advantage through the first five minutes of the second half, but a 13-4 Charleston Southern run gave the visitors a 48-44 lead at the under-12 media timeout. A Katelyn Connor free throw broke the Chants scoring drought; however, a technical foul assessed to Coastal after a made Lakeitha Alston bucket swung the momentum fully in the favor of the Buccaneers. Coward sank her second three of the afternoon and Alston made an easy layup to put Charleston Southern up by a game-high 12 points at 57-45 with 8:50 remaining in regulation.

Coastal responded with a 7-0 run over the following two minutes as Irick connected from downtown, Henry converted a layup and Katelyn Connor made two at the charity stripe to cut the Bucs’ lead to 57-52.  The Chants pulled within five once again as Irick sank her third free throw of the game with 3:47 left.  However, that would be Coastal’s final point of the game as the Buccaneers finished the game on a 10-0 run with eight points coming at the free-throw line.

Coastal led by as many as eight points over the first 12 minutes of the game, but Charleston Southern stayed within striking distance. The Buccaneers then found their stroke from deep as Rachelle Coward, Lakeitha Alston and Erin Bratcher each connected on threes to put the visitors up 21-17 with 7:20 remaining in the first half.

The teams exchanged baskets over the ensuing minutes with Charleston Southern hanging on to its four-point advantage.  However, an Angelica Henry free throw with 3:36 to play sparked an 11-2 run that pushed the Chanticleers to an 33-29 halftime advantage. Coastal’s run featured four points at the line and five off turnovers as Charleston Southern was only able to muster a pair of freebies in the final 30 seconds of the half.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 19-of-52 (36.5 percent) and outscored Charleston Southern 19-8 in points off turnovers. The Buccaneers shot 20-of-54 (37.0 percent) from the floor for the game, which included seven 3-pointers, and held a 26-20 advantage in points in the paint.

Prior to the game seniors Kira Carter, Courtney Grambley, Taylor Epley and Olivia Irick were presented with framed jerseys in honor of their accomplishments and contributions to the Coastal Carolina women’s basketball program.

Coastal Carolina takes to the road for its final two games of the regular season starting at Presbyterian College on Friday, March 2. Tipoff from the Blue Hose’s Ross E. Templeton Center is slated for 7 p.m.

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