MOBILE, AL – The Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team finally returned to action after a 28-day hiatus on Friday evening, as the Chanticleers fell on the road 68-57 at South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. in the Chants’ Sun Belt Conference opener.
The difference in the contest was in turnovers, as the Chanticleers turned the ball over 21 times which led directly to 27 points for the Jaguars who also totaled 73 shot attempts compared to Coastal’s 57 field goal tries.
Coastal shot 39 percent (22-of-57) from the field and 37 percent (7-of-19) from behind the three-point line both of which were better than the Jaguars at 37 percent (27-of-73) and 24 percent (9-of-37).
Junior Aja Blount led the way for the Chants offensively with 13 points, while Deaja Richardson had 10 points in her CCU debut. Guards Tiarra Davis and Kaylin West finished with nine and eight points apiece, respectively, while defensively forward Ashley Santigene was solid in the paint with a team-high eight rebounds, five blocks, and two steals.
South Alabama had a trio of double-digit scorers led by Mahogany Vaught with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go along with her game-high six steals. Antoinette Lewis added 17 points, while Jayla Morrow poured in 13 to lead the Jaguars to the home conference win. Lewis added a game-high 15 rebounds to post a double-double.
After falling behind 5-0 off the opening tip in the Sun Belt road tilt, the Chants answered with eight-straight points capped off by a Tyra Brown three-pointer to give the visitors in teal their first lead of the game at 6:37 left in the first quarter.
The opening quarter remained close as the final six minutes saw two more lead changes until a jump shot from Blount ended the first quarter with the Chants on top 18-15.
The Chants pushed their lead out to eight at 26-18 on five-straight points from Richardson and a three-ball by Davis to start the second quarter only to see the visitors go ice cold from the floor, registering just one field goal from Blount over the next six minutes of the period.
USA took full advantage and used a 17-2 run over that span to push its lead out to seven at 35-28 with just under a minute to go in the first half of play.
Coastal got a free throw from Blount and a second-chance layup by West to cut the Jaguars lead to four at 35-31 at the halftime break.
The Chants opened the second half with a driving layup from Janae Camp to get to within two points at 35-33, which kick-started a quarter of runs that saw USA pull out to a six-point lead at 42-36 before the Chants answered with a three-pointer by Davis and another layup from Camp to cut the USA lead to one at 42-41 with 4:56 left in the third quarter.
CCU tied the game up at 45-45 on a layup by Richardson with 3:04 in the third period yet saw the Jaguars outscore the Chants 8-2 for the rest of the frame to take a 53-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
USA pushed its lead out to eight to start the final period and did not look back in running out to a double-digit lead with six minutes left on the way to the 68-57 conference win.
Coastal (3-2, 0-1 SBC) and South Alabama (5-4, 2-1 SBC) will play the second game of the weekend conference doubleheader tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET in Mobile, Ala.