CONWAY, S.C. – Despite 19 points from junior forward Aja Blount, Coastal Carolina could not withstand a late rally by South Alabama in a 61-56 Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball loss on Sunday afternoon at The HTC Center.
Coastal led the contest 42-38 heading into the last period, but that’s when USA’s Savannah Jones went to work. Jones made back-to-back three-pointers and made another trey in the Jaguars’ 9-0 run that made the score 53-44 and put them in front to stay. Blount and senior guard Kaylin West keyed a late CCU rally that fell just short, leaving Coastal winless in the Sun Belt with its eighth loss and a 3-9 record overall.
Blount hit a pair of free throws and West added three points to make it 56-51 with 46 seconds remaining on the clock. Blount would cut the margin to three points at 59-56 on a layup with one second to play but Jones connected on a pair of free throws with 0.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
In a turnaround from the first game of the weekend series where South Alabama jumped out to an early lead and hit a school-record 19 three-pointers, the Chanticleers got the upper hand from the start on Sunday and applied more defensive pressure on the Jaguars’ outside shooters. Blount scored the first four points of the game and Coastal slowly built a 24-13 lead on Deaja Richardson’s inside bucket with 4:23 left in the second period. South Alabama mounted a run to close the frame, cutting Coastal’s advantage to just 26-21 at halftime. Blount and Davis each had six points at the break.
Coastal led for all but 10 seconds of the first three quarters, but the Chanticleers were outscored 23-14 in the final stanza. Jones made 3-of-4 from three-point range and hit all four of her free throw attempts in the last stanza.
Each team made 21 field goals and shot just under 40 percent from the field in the game. South Alabama hit two more free throws and three more from beyond the arc. Coastal held a slim rebounding advantage, 40-38, with senior forward Janae Camp grabbing a game-high 11 boards.
In addition to Blount’s 19 points, Tiarra Davis came off of the bench to add 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point arc.
Jones scored 13 of her season-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to lead South Alabama while Mahogany Vaught and Antoinette Lewis added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jones also grabbed 10 rebounds and posted a pair of blocks.