CCU women lose a heartbreaker to App State, 83-80, finish in 2nd in the Sun Belt

Sports

CONWAY, S.C. – Senior standout DJ Williams scored a game-high 38 points for Coastal Carolina but Maya Calder made a key layup in overtime to lift Appalachian State to a wild 83-80 win in double overtime Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center in what was the final regular-season Sun Belt Conference game for each team.

Calder only had four points on the day, but her layup with a minute left in the second overtime gave the Mountaineers an 82-80 lead. Nicola Mathews added a late free throw before Coastal senior guard Torrie Cash missed on a three-point attempt from the left wing that would have tied the game in the final seconds.

The loss ended a 10-game win streak for the Chanticleers, who slipped to 25-4 overall and 15-3 in the league. It was the first home loss in league play for Coastal after eight wins. Appalachian State ended the regular season at 11-18 and 8-10 in the conference.

Williams also grabbed 12 rebounds to record her 11th double-double of the season and the 21st of her illustrious career. She had 23 points in the second half and carried her team after the Chanticleers fell behind by 10 points early in the fourth quarter at 58-48. And when things looked darkest, she scored on a traditional three-point play off a steal to tie the game at the end of regulation at 68-68. She had six more points in the first overtime that ended tied at 76-76.

Coastal never got the lead in the second overtime, and it was left for two unlikely players to lock up the win for the Mountaineers, who avenged a 27-point loss to Coastal earlier in the season.  Calder had all four of her points in the second overtime while Mathews’ free throw with 10 seconds remaining was her only point on the day.

Williams got scoring help from Cash, who had 12 points, and senior center Naheria Hamilton, who came on late to collect 11 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Junior Janae Camp finished with nine points and 15 rebounds.

Appalachian State was led by guard Pre Stanley and forward Lainey Gosnell, who had 28 and 21 points, respectively.

Neither team held more than a five-point lead through the first two periods that saw nine lead changes and five ties. Williams already had 15 points and six rebounds through the first 20 minutes and Coastal held a slim lead for most of the way before Michaela Porter hit a three-pointer just before the close of the second quarter to give Appalachian State a 33-32 halftime lead.

From there, Stanley and Gosnell scored 13 points in a 15-2 run for Appalachian State, giving the Mountaineers a 56-46 lead. The Mountaineers still led by five in the final minute of regulation before Coastal scored five consecutive points in the final 15 seconds – two free throws by Cash and a three-point play by Williams, who played all 50 minutes of the game.

Coastal shot 27-of-83 from the floor (33 percent), but only hit 2-of-12 three-point attempts (17 percent). Appalachian State also hit 27 field goals but made seven more three-point attempts. Coastal had the edge in rebounding at 63-52, as it had for 21 other times this season.

Despite the loss, Coastal will finish the regular season as one of the top two seeds for the postseason Sun Belt Tournament and will automatically move on to the semifinal round of play on March 14 in New Orleans. The tournament winner will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

After the game, CCU recognized its four seniors on the team in Williams, Cash, Hamilton, and Caitlin Roche.

Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics

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