CONWAY – Junior guard DJ Williams scored her 1,000th career point Thursday evening during Coastal Carolina’s 67-62 victory over Louisiana at the HTC Center. Williams, who led all players in the game with 18 points, is the 16th Chanticleer in program history to reach the milestone, including the fifth student-athlete under head coach Jaida Williams.
Coastal (16-10, 8-7) has now won eight of its last nine games, including each its last five to tie its season-long winning streak that previously took place Nov. 23 – Dec. 8. Louisiana falls to 7-19, 5-10 with its second consecutive loss.
The Chants also saw themselves jump into sixth place in the Sun Belt standings with their win and Texas State’s loss. A top-six spot would guarantee Coastal a direct trip to New Orleans for the 2019 Sun Belt Championship, while a 7-10 seed would include a first-round game at a campus site.
Coastal’s bigs enjoyed a productive scoring night as junior center Naheria Hamilton and freshman center Aja Blount joined Williams in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
The Chants out-rebounded the Ragin’ Cajuns 36-21, which included just eight rebounds for Louisiana in the first half. Coastal also scored 42 of their 67 points in the paint.
Coastal led for the final three quarters of the game but never by more than 7 points. The teams were tied at 61-61 with a minute remaining before Hamilton hit a free throw and Williams made a steal and a fast-break layup to seal the win. Coastal closed out its scoring in the final :20 with three free throws while Louisiana managed only one free throw in the final minute.
Sophomore guard Jomyra Mathis scored 13 points to lead Louisiana, while Brandi Williams and Kendall Bess finished with 12 each.
Williams had 11 of her points in the second half, but she reached her milestone with 2:25 remaining in the first half when she knocked down her lone 3-point attempt of the night. Williams was also active on the boards, recording another game high with nine rebounds.
“DJ stepped up with a huge steal to seal it for us and I am proud of her play, but it was a total team effort to get this win,” said Coastal head coach Jaida Williams. “The players have really taken ownership of their play during this five-game win streak.”
Coastal shot 28-48 from the field for the contest (58%), and was 6-7 in the final quarter. Louisiana hit on 26-57 field goal attempts (46%).
Blount came off the bench early to score 10 points in the first half, helping Coastal to a 30-27 lead at the break. The Chanticleers took the lead, 13-11, on sophomore Janae Camp’s 3-pointer with three minutes left in the first quarter. From there, the Chanticleers did not trail the rest of the game.
The Chanticleers are back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday when they host ULM at the HTC Center. Coastal won the first contest against ULM this season, 79-54, on March 31.