Coastal Completes Second-Half Rally at App State
BOONE, N.C. - For the second time this season, the Coastal Carolina women's basketball team overcame a double-digit second-half deficit against Appalachian State, and defeated the Mountaineers, 56-53, Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Center.
App State led by as many 19 points early in third quarter, but the Chants outscored the Mountaineers 38-21 over the second half, including 16-7 in the fourth quarter. In Coastal's previous victory over App State on Jan. 14, the Chants trailed by as many 12 points in the second half, and limited the Mountaineers to eight points in the fourth quarter.
The two sides will meet for the third time this season on Tuesday, as the Chants and Mountaineers open the 2017 Sun Belt Conference tournament in New Orleans' Lakefront Arena with a first-round contest at 11:30 a.m. CT, as the league's eight and nine seeds, respectively.
It is the second time in the last three seasons that Coastal will open a conference tournament against the same team it closed the regular season with. The Chants began the 2015 Big South Conference tournament against UNC Asheville after closing the regular season against the Bulldogs.
Entering the day's action, a Coastal win and Georgia State loss would have given the Chants the Sun Belt's seventh seed in the upcoming conference tournament. That opportunity was lost by halftime of the Coastal/App State contest, as the Georgia State/Georgia Southern game went final with the Panthers squeezing past the Eagles, 63-62, to remain in seventh place.
Naheria Hamilton's 11 points led Coastal, with seven coming in the second half. Ced Gibson and Kennedy Archer each finished with 10 points, the former scoring eight points in the second half, and the latter seven.
Gibson also dished out six assists, bringing her career total to 301 to surpass Nikki Reddick's 300 and give her sole possession of sixth place among Coastal's all-time career assists leaders.
Alexis Robinson's 10 rebounds paced a Coastal team that edged App State on the boards, 44-43.
App State held a slight advantage over Coastal in field goal shooting percentage for the game, but managed just two baskets on 10 attempts in the final quarter. The Mountaineers were also just 3-of-8 from the line over the game's final 10 minutes.
App State held a 17-10 lead at the close of the first quarter, but pushed its advantage to 32-14 in the second quarter with a 13-2 run that spanned over six minutes of the frame. Madi Story and Ashley Bassett-Smith directed the majority of the action during that span, with the former scoring five points and latter four.
Bassett-Smith also had four points in the opening quarter to finish the first half with a game-high eight points. Hamilton's four points led Coastal in the first half, with all four coming in the half's final minute as the freshman center snapped App State's second-quarter run and brought the halftime margin to 32-18.
Coastal was plagued by turnovers throughout the game's first half, coughing up the ball on 12 occasions, which translated to 15 Mountaineer points.
App State scored the first five points of the third quarter to take its largest lead of the game at 19 points. Coastal truly began its comeback in the final three minutes of the third quarter, when it went on a 10-2 run to trim the margin back to single digits with App leading 44-38.
Coastal opened the fourth quarter with five straight points on a Gibson 3-pointer and two Jas Adams free throws to cut the deficit to a single point. It wasn't until the 3:52 mark of the quarter, however, that Coastal tied the game for the first time. Hamilton scored six straight points for CCU to force the tie, and Coastal grabbed its first lead with 2:06 to go on a Robinson jumper. The Chants' lead held for the remainder of the game, and Archer closed the scoring with a free throw with 28 seconds remaining.
App managed just three points in the game's final 4:33, and went scoreless for the final 3:40.