Coastal Downs GSU, Advances to Sun Belt Quarterfinals
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The seventh-seeded Coastal Carolina women's basketball team ran away with a 74-55 win over No. 10 Georgia State in Tuesday's first round of the 2018 Sun Belt Women's Basketball Championship from Lakefront Arena.
Coastal (17-13) advances to Thursday's quarterfinal round, where it will face No. 2 Texas State (21-8) at 5 p.m. (CT). Georgia State ends its season with an 8-22 overall record.
Tuesday's game was similar to the first time these teams met this season on Jan. 13. In the first matchup, Coastal claimed a double-digit lead at halftime after outscoring GSU 18-5 in the second quarter. This time around, the Chants outscored the Panthers 22-6 in the second quarter to lead by 15 points at the break. Coastal held onto its double-figure lead for the remainder of regulation as it closed out the win.
Five Chants scored in double figures in the winning effort, with Jas Adams' 16 points leading the way. Her team-leading performance moved her into 11th place among Coastal's all-time career scorers with 1,184 points.
Kaylin West scored 15 points, followed by Breelyn Blanding with 13. Janae Camp had a career night with 11 points, and Naheria Hamilton collected her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Coastal closed the game shooting 46 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line. The Chants also held a 37-30 advantage in rebounds, and further dominated down low by outscoring the Panthers 34-20 in the paint.
GSU's Kierra Henry led the game with 18 points, including 11 in the first quarter. Janessa Murphy added 15 points, and K.K. Williams rounded out the Panthers' double-digit scorers with 13 points.
A tightly-contested first quarter saw Coastal and Georgia State tied three times as the two sides fought to gain an advantage. Henry opened the game hot for the Panthers, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 from the field with a trio of 3-pointers. Henry only received four points from her teammates, however, allowing Coastal to keep pace. The Chants were buoyed by a stretch of eight unanswered points in the opening frame, with Janae Camp and Breelyn Blanding combining for six of those eight points.
Coastal began the second quarter trailing by one point, but quickly overtook the lead as Adams started to heat up. The senior guard drained a pair of 3's early in the quarter, and scored eight points as part of a 13-4 Coastal run over the frame's first four minutes. West was the Chants' leading scorer in the quarter with 10 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers. Coastal limited GSU to shooting 16 percent from the field in the second, and held the Panthers scoreless for a stretch of six minutes.
The Chants continued to pour it on in the third quarter as they scored a game-high 28 points. Coastal opened the quarter on a 15-4 run over the first five minutes, and later scored seven straight points to take a 30-point lead, its largest of the game.
GSU outscored Coastal in the final quarter, but could not manage to trim the margin lower than 16 points.
Tuesday's win was Coastal's first in a conference tournament since 2013-14, when the Chants defeated Charleston Southern in the opening round of the Big South Conference Championship.