Lady Chants fall to Ospreys; Lady Tar Heels rally for win

The North Florida Ospreys scored 39 of their 69 points from beyond the arc to down Coastal Carolina 69-58 in the first game of the annual Carolinas Challenge on Tuesday evening at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The Ospreys shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from 3-point land and 43.4 percent (23-of-53) overall in moving to 4-7 on the season. Coastal Carolina also shot above its season average, connecting on 35.7 percent (20-of-56) of its shots from the floor and 40.0 percent (5-of-15) from deep.

For the second straight night, three Chants scored in double figure led by Shatia Cole’s 15 on 5-of-12 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line. Alexx Puckett scored 14 points on 6-of-11 from the floor, while Angelica Henry chipped in 13 points, including six from deep.

North Florida’s Destinee Smith led all scorers with a career-high 20 points, including a remarkable 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Jadhken Kerr scored 14 points for the Ospreys, while Ki Conner notched nine.

The 3-pointer was the shot of choice for the Ospreys in the first half as they built as much as a 16 point lead at 35-19 with 1:46 to play in the period. North Florida, who entered the game shooting 22.8 percent on the season from long-range, sank five of its first six triples and six overall in the half.

The Chants also shot well above their season average from deep in the first half connecting on 4-of-8 attempts. Coastal rallied in the final 1:30 of the half, on the back of three baskets in the paint by Puckett and Cole and a free throw by Henry, to cut North Florida’s 16-point lead with 1:46 remaining to only nine points at 35-26 as the teams retreated to their respective locker rooms for halftime adjustments.

North Florida opened the second half on a 6-0 run before Coastal could find the basket. However, the feisty Chants responded with a 13-8 run, capped by a pair of Kayla Cook free throws, to cut the Osprey lead to 50-39 with 12:04 to play. Following a media timeout Alexx Puckett and Cook pieced together a quick 6-2 scoring spurt to bring the Chants within seven points at 52-45.

Unfortunately, Kerr sank a trio of treys as part of a 10-point North Florida run to push the game back to a 15 point margin with just over six minutes to play.  Cole then scored five of Coastal’s next eight points as part of an 8-5 run to breathe live back into the Chants with the score reading 67-53 with 2:14 to play.

After a pair of offensive rebounds, UNF’s Conner put the game away with a runner in the lane with only 1:23 to play. Coastal ended the game on a 5-0 run, all coming from the hands of Henry, leading to the 69-58 final.

Coastal Carolina will take a nine-day break for the Christmas holiday before returning to the court on Dec. 29. The Chants resume play at Big South Conference foe Presbyterian College with tipoff slated for 2 p.m.

* North Carolina 76, East Carolina 67: The 19th-ranked Lady Tar Heels (11-1) rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat the Lady Pirates (8-3) in the Carolinas Challenge at Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a game-high 24 points and Krista Gross added 10 as North Carolina took control of the game in the second half.

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