CONWAY, S.C.-Senior Nikki Reddick (Hartsville, S.C./Hartsville) scored 36 points, including the game-winning free throw, and junior Lucia Popovici (Edmonton, Alberta/Jasper Place) came through with some key last-minute shots as the Coastal Carolina University womens basketball team (4-0) defeated the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1-3) 66-65 Dec. 6 in the first round of the U.S. Cellular Classic in Greenville, N.C.
UNC Greensboro had a 62-61 lead with 4:14 left before the first of two key jumpers by Popovich at 2:49 gave Coastal a one-point lead. A layup by Ashley Current with 2:23 left gave the Spartans a 62-62 advantage and a free throw from Jacinda Lambert gave UNCG a two-point cushion. Popovici came up big again with a jumper at the 1:40 mark that tied the game for the fifth time. The teams traded missed jumpers before senior Cyndie Troutman (Hampton, Tenn./Walters State C.C.) came up with a big steal to give Coastal a chance to take the lead with 34 seconds left. Reddick went to the hole and was fouled with 15 seconds left, making one of two free throws. A last-second jumper by Lindsey Reed was off the mark and Coastal improved to 4-0 for the first time in school history.
Reddick was the story in the first half, scoring 17 of Coastals first 21 points and was 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-8 from three-point range. Coastal had as much as a 10-point lead in the first half, but a 13-0 run by UNCG gave the Spartans a three-point advantage and UNCG had a one-point lead at the break.
Coastal jumped out in the start of the second half and built another 10-point lead, but a 10-0 UNCG run pushed the Spartans back in the game.
Reddick scored over 20 points for the 34th time in her career, going 12-of-22 from the field and making seven three-pointers. Troutman and Popovici each had 11 points and senior Temecca Barnes (Malone, Fla./Chipola J.C.) had a team-high five assists.
The game had 12 lead changes and 10 ties and Coastal held UNCG without a field goal in the last 2:23 of the game.
UNCG was led by Lambert with 26 points. Megan Honeycutt also was in double figures with 11 points.
Coastal will now play in the championship game of the U.S. Cellular Classic Sunday, Dec 7, against the winner of East Carolina and Coppin State.