Lady Chants drop Big South opener to Lady Camels

In a game of runs it was the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers that came up on the wrong side of a 64-54 score at Campbell in women’s basketball action on Thursday evening at the Fighting Camels’ Gore Arena.

Coastal Carolina (6-7, 1-2 Big South) was led by AJ Jordan’s 13 points on 6-of-12 from the field and 1-of-3 from the charity stripe. Alexx Puckett and Angelica Henry joined Connor in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Center Katelyn Connor pulled down a game-high 11 boards to go along with her nine points. In all, the Chanticleer starting five accounted for 47 of the team’s 54 points.

Campbell (10-3, 2-0 Big South) was paced by Zena Lovette’s 11 points, which included a pair of deep 3-pointers. Ashley James, Tonisha Baker and Monique Spry each finished with nine points as Fighting Camel head coach Wanda Watkins won her 250th career conference game (93-33 Big South, 157-161 Atlantic-Sun).

“The way we played to open the game really hurt us tonight,” said Chanticleer head coach Alan LeForce. “Going down 18-2 in the first 10 minutes of the game was the difference tonight. I’m proud of the way our team battled back and twice cut their lead to less than 10 points.

“I’m looking forward to returning home, where we are 5-1 this season, and playing in front of our fans for the first time four games on Saturday against Charleston Southern.”

Trailing by a game-high 21 points with 19 minutes to play in the contest, Coastal Carolina started its comeback run. Over the ensuing 4:35 the Chanticleers pieced together a 14-2 run, which saw six points each by Jordan and Puckett along with a layup by Henry, to pull within nine points.

However, the Chants’ thin bench was unable to keep the pressure on as the Camels fired off a 20-9 run to once again take a 20-point lead with 5:33 remaining in regulation.

Coastal battled back once again, but it was not to be as the Chanticleers ran out of time. Coastal ended the game on a 10-0 run over the final 4:11 of play.

For the second straight game the Chanticleers struggled to get shots to fall for extended minutes of play in the first half. After Connor tied the score 2-all at the 18:26 mark, the Chants went cold from the field for the ensuing 7-plus minutes as the Fighting Camels built a 18-2 lead. Connor broke the scoreless drought with a pair from the charity stripe with 11:18 showing on the game clock.

Coastal then responded with 12-2 run of its own to pull within six points at 20-14 with 5:28 left to play in the half. The run featured a five made Chanticleer mid-range jumpers – two each by Henry and Jordan and one by Puckett.

Just as the Chants were gaining momentum, Campbell turned the tables and capitalized on several turnovers that led to 10 fast-break points and a pair of 3-pointers. The Camels would finish the half on 16-4 run, pushing its lead to 36-18 at the intermission.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 23-of-65 (35.4 percent) and outscored Campbell 36-32 in the paint. The Camels shot 24-of-62 (38.7 percent) from the floor for the game, including a 55.6 clip (5-of-9) from three – making them the third consecutive opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from deep against the Chants – and held a 29-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

Coastal Carolina returns to the friendly confines of The HTC Center for the first time since Dec. 16 to host Lowcountry rival Charleston Southern on Saturday. The 80th installment of the Chanticleer – Buccaneer battle on the hardwood is set to tipoff at 2 p.m.

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