Dec. 5, 2013
CONWAY - Alexx Puckett scored a career-high 24 points and AJ Jordan added 23 as the Coastal Carolina women's basketball team pulled away to an 85-63 victory over Gardner-Webb in both teams' Big South Conference opener Thursday evening at The HTC Center.
The Chanticleers won their league opener for the second straight year and improved to 5-3 on the season. Gardner-Webb fell to 4-3 overall.
Puckett hit on 8 of her 11 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, and made 6-of-7 free throws to surpass her previous career high of 20 points set earlier in the season. She also had 11 rebounds to notch her first career double-double.
Jordan was 9-of-18 shooting and 4-of-5 at the line. Kayla Cook chipped in 11 points, while Megan Pittman pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. Angelica Henry had a team-best six steals and five assists.
Coastal held the lead for most of the game, but it was just 47-45 with 13 minutes to play before the Chants took over. They scored nine straight points in a span of only 50 seconds to quickly build a double-digit advantage at 56-45. Karsen Sims hit a 3-pointer, Katelyn Connor made a short jumper on a post move in the lane, Henry got a steal and fed Jordan for a layup and then Henry came from the blindside in the backcourt for another steal and converted the layup herself.
A 3-pointer by Puckett later pushed the CCU lead to 66-52 with 6:28 to play, another steal and layup by Henry gave the Chanticleers a 17-point cushion at the final media timeout and they cruised from there.
Coastal turned up its defense in the second half, forcing Gardner-Webb into 13 turnovers and capitalizing for 13 points. It also enabled the Chants to shoot 54 percent (19 of 35) from the field in the final 20 minutes leading to 49 points.
For the game, Coastal hit on 46 percent of their field-goal attempts, while Gardner-Webb shot just 35 percent. The Chanticleers also owned a 50-40 rebounding advantage and made 14 of 18 free throws, compared to 8 of 12 for the Runnin' Bulldogs. Additionally, CCU recorded 16 steals while forcing 22 total turnovers.
Both teams were cold to start the game, but a pair of jumpers by Jordan around a three-point play by Sims after a steal gave Coastal an early 7-2 lead. Gardner-Webb scored seven of the next nine points to even the game at 9-9 at the first media timeout and took its first lead at 14-12 on a layup by Olivia Parker. Jordan then tied it again with another jumper.
After several lead changes, the Chanticleers used a 13-5 run over a five-minute stretch to build a 33-27 advantage. Jordan and Puckett combined for all 13 of the points, with Jordan hitting a 3-pointer, a jumper and two free throws, while Puckett made a short jumper and pair of layups inside.
Gardner-Webb's Jasmine Dale hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the half to end a Runnin' Bulldogs drought from the field, but Henry pushed the ball upcourt quickly and found Cook on the wing in front of the GWU bench and she banked in a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 36-30 at the break.
Coastal, which also defeated Gardner-Webb in the conference opener last season, is now off until Sunday, Dec. 15 when it hosts Furman for a nonconference game at 2 p.m.