Lady Chants crush UNCA

For the fourth time this season Coastal Carolina had four players score in double figures as the Chanticleers handily dispatched UNC Asheville, 74-58, to pick up their second straight win on Monday evening.

The win brings Coastal’s record to 5-6 in Big South play and 12-8 overall. UNC Asheville falls to 7-15 overall and 3-8 in the Big South.

Senior Taylor Epley helped lead Coastal as she poured in a career-high and game-high tying 15 points on an impressive 7-of-10 from the field.  Freshman Shatia Cole equaled Epley with 15 points, including 13 in the second half.  Olivia Irick finished with 12 points and Kayla Cook contributed 10.  Asheville was paced by Manley Gentry’s 14 points and Kelli Riles 13 rebounds.

“The ladies played well tonight,” said head coach Alan LeForce.  “We started the game making four of our first five shots and that gave us confidence for the rest of the game.  Taylor Epley had a great game tonight, so did Shatia Cole and Olivia Irick.  We can be a dangerous team when those three players are having a good night and are making shots.

“We also played a smart game and only turned the ball over nine times.  When teams don’t give the ball away they can be very hard to beat and we proved that tonight.”

Asheville’s Gentry Manley opened the scoring in the second half as she sank two freebies; however, the Chanticleers took over the next three minutes as they put together a 9-2 run to take a 15-point lead.  Irick started the run with an old-fashioned three-point point play. Kira Carter then drilled a trey from the left wing and Irick matched her with a 3-pointer of her own on the ensuing possession.

Asheville then used an 18-10 run over the next 8:29 to draw within seven of the Chants.  However, the Bulldogs would be unable to take advantage of Coastal’s misfires over the following three minutes as neither team scored.  Courtney Grambley finally broke the scoring drought with two free throws at the 6:45 mark.

Cole and Irick combined for Coastal’s next nine points to put the game out of reach.  Cole started things off with a steal that she took coast-to-coast for an easy layup.  The freshman then fed a great pass to a cutting Irick who finished in the paint.  On the Chants’ next possession, Irick returned the favor assisting Cole on a layup.  The Myrtle Beach native then iced away the game with a three-point play with 4:08 remaining to put Coastal back on top by 16 at 66-50.

Epley capped Coastal’s victory with three baskets over the final three minutes to account for six of the Chants’ final eight points.

The Chants started the game fast as they made four of their first five shot attempts to take an early 8-2 lead.  Carter then sank her third shot of the game and Grambley connected on a mid-range jumper and a three, her second of the season, to push Coastal out to a 15-4 lead just 6:23 into the game.

Taylor Epley scored Coastal’s next five points on an 18-foot jumper and a three from near the top of the arc.  Guards Cook and Cole then sank five straight free throws after being fouled on fast break opportunities.  AJ Jordan capped the Chanticleers’ 12-6 scoring streak with her first jumper of the night.

Asheville then reeled off six straight points to cut Coastal’s advantage to 11, but a Cook triple slowed the Bulldogs’ momentum.  Asheville’s Kelli Riles accounted for four of her team’s next eight points as the Bulldogs’ used an 8-2 run to chip away the Chanticleer lead to seven at 32-25 with 1:38 remaining in the half.  The Chants would close the half on a 4-1 run to take a 10-point lead, 36-26, into the locker rooms.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 27-of-57 (47.4 percent) and outscored UNC Asheville 17-10 in points off turnovers.  UNC Asheville shot 22-of-50 (44.0 percent) from the floor for the game and held a 26-20 advantage in points in the paint.

Coastal returns to the hardwood on Saturday at Radford.  Tipoff from the Highlanders’ Dedmon Center is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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