CONWAY, S.C. – A furious comeback by Georgia State in the fourth quarter erased a career-high scoring night by Coastal Carolina sophomore guard Deaja Richardson as the Panthers scored a 76-65 women’s basketball Sun Belt Conference victory on Saturday at the HTC Center.
Richardson, who scored a then-career best 15 points in a loss to Georgia State on Friday night, topped that performance with 18 points to lead the Chants.
Taniyah Worth scored 16 points to again lead the Panthers, who improved to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the Sun Belt. Coastal falls to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
The Chanticleers held an 11-point lead late in the third quarter at 58-47 before the Panthers closed out the game on a 24-3 run, holding Coastal to just three points in the final 7:30 of the contest. Taylor Hosendove made a layup to put her team in front to stay at 64-63 with 3:20 to play and from there Georgia State sealed the win by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute.
Richardson was joined in double-figure scoring by guard Olivia Smith, a graduate transfer from the University of North Carolina, as she came off of the bench to score 11 points and grab nine rebounds in just 18 minutes of playing time. Junior forward Aja Blount, the team’s leading scorer on the season, had eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Coastal Carolina had taken control in the third quarter, hitting three consecutive baskets to start the period and extend its two-point halftime lead to a 48-40 advantage. They led by eight at the end of the period, 58-50, before Georgia State took control. The Chants hit on just 3-of-16 shots in the final quarter, with only two field goals in the last 7:44 of action.
Worth, who had 17 points in Georgia State’s win on Friday, got her team off to a good start by scoring four points in a 12-2 run for the Panthers as they took a 19-9 lead in the opening quarter. Coastal battled back in the final 1:37 of the first quarter, scoring the final eight points of the period to pull to within two points at 19-17 by the end of the first quarter.
From there, a full-court pressure defense and Richardson’s scoring carried the Chanticleers on an 11-3 run to close the second quarter. She had nine of her 12 first-half points in the final four minutes of that period and her layup from Alana Denson’s nifty assist put CCU in front for the first time since the early going at 39-37. The teams then traded three-pointers in the final minute of the period and Coastal led at the halftime, 42-40.
The Chants finished the game hitting on 24-of-69 shots from the floor (35 percent), and just 4-of-16 from three-point range. Richardson had two of those three-pointers, both in the first half. She cooled off in the second half, missing on her four long-range attempts. Coastal had four players with six or more rebounds, leading to a 50-42 advantage on the boards.
The Chanticleers will be on the road next weekend as they travel to Troy for a pair of Sun Belt Conference games. Coastal and Troy will tip-off the first game on Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. ET, with game two tipping off at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.