CONWAY, S.C. – Senior DJ Williams scored a school-record 51 points to lead Coastal Carolina to a fast-paced 124-103 win over Troy in a battle for first-place in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday night at the HTC Center. With its fifth consecutive win, Coastal improved to 20-3 overall and 10-2 in the league. After having its seven-game winning streak snapped, Troy slipped to 19-4 overall and 10-2 in the conference, tied with the Chanticleers and two games clear of the rest of the league.
Williams, who broke the previous school record of 45 points in a game with the highest total in an NCAA Division I women’s basketball game this season, led five Coastal players in double figures. Senior point guard Torrie Cash added 23 points, while Aja Blount had 12, Kaylin West had a season-high 11 points, and Naheria Hamilton had 10.
Williams’ 51 points are the most points by a single player in a Sun Belt women’s basketball conference game, eclipsing the previous record of 50 points set twice. It is the second-most points in a single game in Sun Belt women’s basketball history. Troy’s Joanna Harden tallied 52 points against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 26, 2013.
Williams already had 26 points at the half, giving Coastal a 63-52 lead. Coastal took the lead at 26-25 on a pair of free throws by Cash in the midst of an 11-0 run that put the Chanticleers in front to stay at 33-25 late in the first quarter. Coastal held a double-figure advantage from mid-way in the second quarter and stretched its lead to 24 points in the final minutes of the game, lastly at 122-98 in the final minute.
“I didn’t think I was going to get 50 tonight, but I felt good about this game,” said Williams, who moved into sixth-place on Coastal’s all-time scoring list with 1,452 points. “When you play the first-place team (Troy), you have to want it, and tonight we wanted it more.”
“That wasn’t a defensive battle by any stretch, but for us to be able to keep pace and run with them was awesome,” said Coastal head coach Jaida Williams.
Troy took an early lead, starting the game by hitting eight of its first 11 shots before Coastal took charge in the second quarter. Senior Japonica James had 21 points to lead four players in double figures for Troy, which won the first meeting over Coastal, 84-77.
Each team finished with respectable shooting; Coastal at 37-of-75 (49 percent) and Troy at 39-of-99 (39 percent). But Coastal converted 40-of-43 free throws, including its first 27 of the game, compared to 16-of-24 for the Trojans.
However, the Trojans controlled the backboards with 59 rebounds and a 15-rebound advantage. Alexus Dye had 13 rebounds to lead Troy, while senior forward Janae Camp had 11 and Hamilton had nine for Coastal.
The night belonged to Williams, however, as she shinned in all areas. The California native hit 16-of-31 shots and made 15 of her 18 free throw attempts. She also had eight assists, seven rebounds and no turnovers in 38 minutes of action. As a team, Coastal had just 10 turnovers.
Coastal will host South Alabama at 2 p.m. ET Saturday before heading out on the road to play at Georgia Southern (Thursday, Feb. 20) and Georgia State (Saturday, Feb. 22) next week.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics