Lady Chants let one slip away against Presbyterian

ccuwhoops-henryPresbyterian College used a 3-point play by Sherece Smith with 8.7 seconds to play to send the game into overtime then scored the final three points in the extra session to hand Coastal Carolina a 71-68 loss in women’s basketball action on Thursday evening.

Smith scored a career-high 25 points to lead all scorers and three Blue Hose in double-figures. Karlee Taylor chipped in 15 points, while Aianna Kelly added an 11-point, 16-rebound double-double. Presbyterian closed the contest shooting 43.5 percent from the field, including a 50 percent clip during the first half.

Angelica Henry led Coastal with 15 points, including six of the Chants seven overtime points. Megan Pittman scored 14 points and Alexx Puckett contributed 10. Coastal shot 38.6 percent for the contest and outscored PC 25-8 in bench points.

The loss drops Coastal to 8-9 (4-4 Big South) on the year, while Presbyterian improves to 4-13 (2-6 Big South).

After three lead changes and seven ties in the opening 14 minutes of play, Presbyterian pulled ahead by a slim margin with less than six to play in the opening half. Smith led the scoring burst with baskets on back-to-back possessions, giving the Blue Hose a 23-20 lead. A minute later, Puckett brought the Chants back within a point at 23-22 with a pair of free throws. However, Taylor and Smith combined for 12 of the half’s final 16 points, providing the Blue Hose a 32-26 halftime lead.

Karsen Sims scored four points as part of Coastal’s second-half opening 10-1 run, pushing the Chants to a 36-33 lead. The lead was Coastal’s first of the game since the 12:45 mark of the first half. A jumper by Kelley and a layup by Noelle Carter ended CCU’s run and gave the lead back to the Blue Hose.

The teams exchanged the lead three more times before PC took a 57-54 lead on a Smith layup with 2:29 to play. Sims then connected on a jumper at the block and after an empty possession by the Blue Hose; Henry tied the game at 57 with the first of two free throws. She then missed the second freebie, but Katelyn Connor was there for the offensive board. Connor kicked the ball out to Pittman who connected on a deep trey from the wing, giving the Chants a 60-57 advantage with 52 ticks left on the clock.

The sides exchanged free throw over the next 36 seconds, leaving the ball in the Blue Hose’s hands with 16 seconds to play in regulation. Smith then drove the length of the floor and was fouled as she made a layup with 8.9 seconds remaining. Smith calmly made the free throw to complete the 3-point play and tie the game at 61. Coastal was unable to get a quality look at the basket on its final possession, sending the game into overtime.

The overtime session saw Henry score six as she put the Chants up 67-65 with 2:31 showing on the clock. PC’s Taylor and Smith then scored layups and Kelly added two at the line giving the home side a 71-68 lead with 30 seconds to play. The Chants were unable to find the tying shot in their final possession as the Blue Hose held on for the win.

Coastal Carolina continues it road swing on Saturday with a 2 p.m. tipoff at Charleston Southern.

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