MB’s Cole hits game-winner as Lady Chants prevail again

Shatia Cole converted a layup and the subsequent free throw with 8.1 seconds left in overtime to give Coastal Carolina a 70-67 victory over the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening inside The HTC Center.

For the second time this season the Chanticleers overcame a 17-point second half deficit to claim a victory. Coastal (12-13, 7-8 Big South) has won five of its last six games with four of those victories featuring second half comebacks. Moreover, the Chanticleers overcame 31-21 halftime deficit to mark the first time in program history a Coastal team has won after trailing by 10 or more points at the intermission.

Cole owned two of Coastal’s key plays in the game. First, with Gardner-Webb leading 59-57, Cole stole a pass at mid-court and raced down for an uncontested layup to tie the game at 59 and push the Chants to overtime for the first time this season. The Myrtle Beach product then provided the game-winning points following a CCU timeout with 10 second showing on the clock. AJ Jordan sent the inbound pass to Kayla Cook who found Cole streaking down the lane. Cole took the pass and converted the old-fashioned three-point play to give Coastal the program’s first overtime win.

While Cole provided two late-game key plays, Angelica Henry made her impact felt throughout the game, finishing with a career-high 28 points, leading all scorers, on 8-of-16 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe. Kayla Cook joined Henry in double figures with 13 points and Katelyn Connor chipped in 12. Henry and Cook co-led Coastal on the boards with seven apiece.

Gardner-Webb (11-14, 5-10 Big South) was paced by Mayhana Dunovant’s 13 points. Jessica Heilig and Olivia Parker each scored 12 for the Runnin’ Bulldogs and Catrina Green corralled a game-high 15 boards.

Gardner-Webb opened the second half on a 13-6 run to expand their 10-point halftime lead to a game-high 17 points with 12:15 to play. Coastal quickly cut the lead to 44-34 after a 7-0 run, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs countered with a Doreen Richardson layup and Lana Doran trey to re-establish a 15-point advantage.

Henry and Doran exchanged 3-pointers on back-to-back possession leaving Gardner-Webb up 52-37 with 8:36 remaining in regulation.

Connor, Cook and Henry then piece together a 9-2 CCU run over the next 1:13, cutting the visitors’ lead to eight. A pair of Heilig jumpers left the Chants trailing 58-48 with 4:11 to play before Henry made a bank shot and Connor and Cook followed with a pair of free throws each, cutting the Chants’ deficit to four points.

A Gardener-Webb free throw by Candace Brown was followed by Cook’s only 3-pointer of the game, pulling the Chants within two points and setting up Cole’s late-game heroics.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs took a pair of three-point leads in the overtime session before Henry converted an and one to knot the score at 65. Cook then scored a layup to give Coastal a brief lead that was quickly erased by Green’s layup with 13 seconds to play. Cole finished off the game with her three-point play, providing the 70-67 final score.

Just as they had in their previous two games, the Chanticleers quickly fell behind 3-0 as Gardner-Webb’s Dunovant drilled a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the game. The Runnin’ Bulldogs kept the pressure on the Chants throughout the remainder of the half, pulling out to as much as a 13-point lead. Gardner-Webb’s longest scoring streak of the period totaled nine points as the score went from 6-5 Runnin’ Bulldog advantage to 15-5.

The Chants were troubled by nine turnovers, which led to 11 Runnin’ Bulldog points, and foul trouble in the first half. Gardner-Webb made its way to the line 14 times, converting on seven of those opportunities, in the opening stanza compared to only three free throw opportunities for the home standing Chants.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62) and outscored Gardner-Webb 28-26 in the paint. The Bulldogs shot 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the floor for the game and 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from the free-throw line.

Coastal returns to the court as visitors at long-time Lowcountry rival Charleston Southern on Thursday. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. from the CSU Field House.  The Chants defeated the Buccaneers 64-56 in the sides’ meeting earlier this season.

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