Lady Chants use late magic for fourth straight victory

For the second straight game Shatia Cole’s heroics and Angelica Henry’s free throws pushed Coastal Carolina to victory. Cole hit a pull-up jumper near the free-throw line and Henry sank a late pair at the line to give Coastal a 50-46 win at UNC Asheville on Saturday afternoon.

The win marks the fourth consecutive victory for the Chanticleers, who improve to 11-12 overall and 6-7 in Big South play. The Chants’ current four-game winning streak against league opponents is the program’s first since the 2006-07 season.

UNC Asheville’s Gentry Manley tied the game at 46-all on a layup with 46 second left in regulation. Following a Coastal timeout Asheville pressured the Chants late into the shot clock where Henry’s shot attempt was blocked. Cole scooped the loose ball off the floor and took a single dribble before pulling up and draining a jumper at the free-throw line to give Coastal a 48-46 lead with 18 seconds left.

Cole blocked Manley’s layup attempt on the ensuing possession and grabbed the rebound before calling a timeout to set up the inbound play. Henry received the inbound pass from Cole and was subsequently fouled with a single second showing on the clock at Kimmel Arena. The junior calmly stepped to the line and hit nothing but nylon on both of her attempts to secure the 50-46 win.

The Chanticleers were led by Katelyn Connor’s second consecutive double-double with an 11-point, 11-rebound effort. AJ Jordan joined Connor in double figures with 10 points, while Henry chipped in nine.

Asheville (2-22, 0-13 Big South) was paced by Manley’s 10 points and Rachel McGrit’s 10 boards. Jeannie Buckner contributed nine points for the Bulldogs by way of three second-half 3-pointers.

Coastal quickly overcame its four-point halftime deficit as Cole connected on a 3-pointer in the Chants opening possession and Henry scored in the paint following an Asheville turnover, giving the back-clad visitors a 26-25 lead.

The ensuing seven-plus minutes featured five lead changes and three ties with neither team able to take more than a four-point advantage.

Points were at a premium to start the game with Coastal and Asheville struggling from the floor. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Chants responded with a 9-0 run, including five at the line. The sides exchanged baskets over the next nine minutes before Connor gave Coastal a five-point lead, its largest of the game, as she split a pair at the line. Cole and Connor would each sink a free throw to give Coastal a 21-17 lead at the 4:59 mark.

However, the advantage would not hold up heading into the intermission as Asheville closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 25-21 lead into the locker room. McGrit ignited the run with a bank shot in the paint. Tyler Smith then scored four points in just over a minute and Paige Love capped the scoring streak with a layup that barely beat the buzzer.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 28.3 percent (17-of-60) and totaled 14 steals that led to 20 points. The Bulldogs shot 31.6 percent (18-of-57) from the floor for the game and held a 22-18 advantage in points in the paint.

Coastal Carolina returns to Conway in the coming week for its final two regular season home games. Coastal will first look to win its fifth straight Big South game for the first time in program history on Valentine’s Day (Thursday, Feb 14) against Presbyterian College. The contest will be the Chanticleers’ Play 4Kay game, which supports women’s cancer research. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. Coastal concludes its 2012-13 home slate at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 16) against Gardner-Webb.

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