Lady Chants return young talent for 2012-13 season

The Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team opens the 2012-13 season Friday night at College of Charleston, the first of many tough tests for the relative young squad.

This year’s Lady Chanticleers, who were picked to finish seventh in the Big South Conference, look like an extremely young team on paper without a senior on the roster. However, the Chants are a seasoned bunch, returning eight players who have seen significant action in their careers.

“Our preseason ranking is about where I thought we would be based on the talent we have returning and what the personnel the rest of the league has returning,” said head coach Alan LeForce. “However, we are capable of surpassing that seventh-place ranking and possibly surprising some people if we play to our potential.”

The Chanticleers return eight letter winners from last season’s squad, including Big South All-Freshman Team performer Shatia Cole. Cole averaged an impressive 10.5 points per game to finish second on the team behind Olivia Irick, who graduated in May. Cole also tied the CCU record with four Big South Freshman of the Week honors.

Also returning to the starting lineup for the Chants are sophomore AJ Jordan and junior Angelica Henry. Jordan and Henry split time as the two guard last season with Henry finishing her campaign with 6.6 points per outing and Jordan with 5.4. Jordan also led Coastal with .850 clip from the line.

Although Coastal will be a young team this season with no seniors on the roster, the squad has plenty of experience. The eight returners have a combined 240 games played and 35 starts.

Coastal will also rely on its defense this season as the Chanticleers were statistically one of the best defensive teams in the conference last year, ranking in the top five in field goal percentage defense, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.

Coastal opens its season on Friday, Nov. 9 at College of Charleston before playing its inaugural game in The HTC Center on Monday, Nov. 12 against North Carolina Central. The Chants then play four games within a seven-day time frame. Coastal first plays Western Carolina (Nov. 17) followed by Columbia College (Nov. 19) and Southern Virginia (20) all at home. The Chants then fly to Fort Wayne, Ind. for a road bout with IPFW on (Nov. 24). The Chants will play their first conference game on Dec. 1 on the road against Gardner-Webb.

Coastal’s second grinding stretch comes the week leading into the Christmas holiday. The Chants host Converse on Dec. 13 followed by perennial power North Carolina on Dec. 16. Coastal then travels to South Carolina State (Dec. 18) before playing North Florida in its annual Carolinas Challenge game at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Dec. 19.  Coastal hosts the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championship at The HTC Center from March 6-10.

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