CONWAY, S.C. – Senior guard DJ Williams scored 22 points, including the last four points of the game, as Coastal Carolina hung on the down the stretch for a 76-73 win over South Alabama on Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center that kept the Chanticleers with a share of first place in the Sun Belt Conference. The win was the sixth in a row for the Chanticleers, who improved to 21-3 overall, tying a school record for wins, and 11-2 in the league.
Senior guard Shaforia Kines had a career-high of 30 points for South Alabama, but it wasn’t enough as the Jaguars slipped to 12-13 overall and 7-6 in the league.
Coastal led by nine points late in the third quarter at 55-46, before South Alabama rallied to tie the game at 70-70 with 1:30 remaining. From there, Williams scored five of her team’s next six points, including a breakaway layup following a critical steal of an inbound pass that made the score 74-70 with eight seconds left. Following Savannah Jones made a three-pointer for South Alabama, she then sank two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win.
Williams, the versatile guard from California, also led her team with 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double of her career to follow up a 51-point effort in a win over Troy in the team’s last outing on Thursday. It was the third triple-double in CCU women’s basketball history.
Williams was helped in the scoring column by sophomore Aja Blount, who had 19 points, and seniors Naheria Hamilton and Caitlin Roche, who had 12 and 10 points respectively. Seven of Roche’s points came in the fourth quarter as the Chanticleers were protecting their slim lead. Four points came on free throws, helping the Chants finish 10-of-13 from the free-throw line in the final quarter and 20-of-29 overall. The 6’4″ Hamilton had 13 rebounds to go along with her 12 points for her ninth double-double of the year.
The teams went back and forth in the early going, with three ties and five lead changes before Coastal pulled ahead briefly at 28-25 with an 11-0 run that continued into the start of the second quarter. South Alabama’s last lead was at 30-28 midway through the second quarter. Williams had 11 points in the first half to lead the Chanticleers, while South Alabama hit six three-pointers, including two by Buster, to stay within two at the half 37-35. The Jaguars did tie the score twice in the second half, once at 41-41 and again at 70-70, but never regained the lead.
Coastal finished shooting 27-of-59 (46 percent) but made only 2-of-11 (18 percent) from three-point range. South Alabama shot poorly overall, making just 24-of-70 (34 percent) from the field, but the Jaguars stayed close by making 13 three-pointers. The rebounding totals were close, with Coastal holding a slim 46-42 edge.
Coastal heads out on the road to play at Georgia Southern (Thursday, Feb. 20) and Georgia State (Saturday, Feb. 22) next week before returning home for a season’s final three-game homestand, starting by hosting ULM at 6 p.m. (Thursday) Feb. 27.
For complete coverage of CCU women’s basketball, follow the Chants on social media @CoastalWBB (twitter), facebook.com/CCUChanticleers (facebook), @GoCCUSports (Instagram) or visit the official home of Coastal Carolina Athletics at goccusports.com.
Courtesy – CCU Athletics