Hamilton, Williams lead CCU past Georgia State, 87-45


CONWAY, S.C. – Senior center Naheria Hamilton scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds, while senior guard DJ Williams added a game-high 22 points to lead Coastal Carolina to an easy 87-45 win over Georgia State in  Sun Belt Conference play Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center.

The 85 points are the most Coastal has scored in a league game this season, as the Chanticleers improved to 17-3 overall and 7-2 in the conference. With the win, Coastal is now 10-1 at home this season and stays within a game of league-leader Troy.

Georgia State slipped to 4-16 overall and 1-8 in the Sun Belt with the defeat. Jada Lewis led the Panthers offense with 10 points while Taylor Henderson added nine points in the contest.

Hamilton led a trio of frontline players, along with sophomore Aja Blount and junior Janae Camp, who combined for 39 points and 33 rebounds. For Hamilton, the league’s top rebounder, it was her third consecutive double-double game and the 25th of her career, even though she sat out the last six minutes of the one-sided affair. Coastal owned the inside play with 44 points in the paint and held a commanding 55-27 advantage in rebounding.

“I don’t think I’ve played my best game yet,” said the 6’4″ Hamilton, the school’s second all-time rebounder with 829 rebounds. “But something just clicked inside of me today. Coach always tells us that when we rebound well, we play well. And that’s my job. Today we played with a lot of energy from the start.”

Blount finished with 15 points, all in the first half, while Camp had seven points and nine rebounds. Freshman center Bailey Lewis also got into the scoring column with a follow-up basket in the last minute of the contest.

Williams delivered as usual. The team’s top scorer at 17 points a game, Williams made seven field goals and again was spectacular from the free-throw line, going 8-of-10. She now has made 22-of-26 from the charity stripe over the last two games, which included a run of 13 consecutive makes before a miss in the third quarter. She also had five rebounds and seven assists.

Coastal never trailed in the game and the frontline of Blount, Camp, and Hamilton took charge from the start. The Chanticleers used a 17-2 run to take an 18-point lead at 42-14, in the final minute of the first half. Coastal had a dominant lead at the break 42-16.

The lead grew to 43 points in the final minutes, as senior guard Caitlin Roche punctuated a 16-2 run with a jumper to make the score 85-42. Junior guard Kaylin West also had six points in the sequence.

Coastal shot 34-of-71 from the field (48 percent) and made 15-of-18 free throws (83 percent). The Chanticleers also had 16 assists on their 34 baskets.

The Chanticleers will be away for conference games at Texas State and Texas Arlington next Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before returning home again in two weeks to face league-leader Troy at 6 p.m. on Feb. 13.

Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics

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