GREENVILLE, N.C.-The Coastal Carolina University womens basketball team (4-1) could not overcome a 21-2 East Carolina University (4-3) start and fell to the Pirates 81-54 in the championship game of the U.S. Cellular Classic Dec. 7 in Greenville, N.C.
Senior Whitney Shearer (Monticello, Ky./Wayne County) tied the game at two on a layup at 18:21 of the first half, but the Pirates scored the next 19 points in a six-minute span with Courtney Willis scoring 12 of those points. Coastal was as close as 13 points after that run at 2:52 on a jumper by senior Nikki Reddick (Hartsville, S.C./Hartsville) and trailed by 15 at the break.
Senior Cyndie Troutman (Hampton, Tenn./Walters State C.C.) cut the ECU lead to 14 points with 15:11 left in the game, but that would be as close as the Lady Chants would get.
Junior Lucia Popovici (Edmonton, Alberta/Jasper Place) had her second straight impressive performance, scoring a team-high 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Reddick was the other Lady Chant in double figures with 11, while freshman Alisha Dill (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill) and sophomore Amber Rose (Baxter, Tenn./Upperman) had nine points apiece. Reddick led the team with six rebounds, while sharing the assist lead of three with senior Temecca Barnes (Malone, Fla./Chipola J.C.)
Reddick was selected to the all-tournament team after averaging 23.5 points per game.
All-Tournament Most Valuable Player Willis led the Pirates with 22 points and Jennifer Jackson added 17. LaToya Horton had 11 of ECUs 53 rebounds.
Coastal shot 36.7 percent from the field and made only three three-pointers. The Lady Chants did force ECU into 21 turnovers, but had 22 miscues of their own.
Coastal returns to Kimbel Arena Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. to take on South Carolina State University.