PENSACOLA, FL – The Coastal Carolina women’s basketball season came to an end in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Friday as Little Rock overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat the Chanticleers 75-64 at the Pensacola Bay Center.
Coastal (3-15, 0-13 SBC) came out running to open the first quarter as sophomore guard Deaja Richardson scored six of the game’s first 10 points as the Chants opened a 10-2 lead in the opening 4:24. Coastal maintained the advantage throughout the opening quarter but had the lead cut to three points when Little Rock’s Mayra Caicedo hit a three-point basket to close the first quarter and put the score at 21-18.
In the second quarter, Coastal maintained a 33-29 advantage before connecting on three consecutive three-point baskets to open a 42-29 lead. Richardson hit the first trey to open the run and Olivia Smith connected on the other two to cap the run with 2:48 to play in the first half. The Chanticleers went on to build their largest lead of the game of 14 points at 47-33 and held a 47-34 lead at halftime.
The second half was a reversal of fortune for both teams as Little Rock scored the first eight points of the third quarter to quickly close the gap to 47-42 just 1:16 into the period. Following a layup by Richardson to stop the run, the Trojans started another by scoring nine unanswered points and taking their first lead of the contest at 51-49 with 3:32 on the clock.
After trading baskets, Coastal’s Richardson gave the Chants a 56-53 lead with 24 seconds to play in the third quarter before Tia Harvey connected on one-of-two free throws with no time on the clock to pull Little Rock to within two points at 56-54 entering the final quarter.
With Coastal leading 59-58 in the fourth quarter, Little Rock took the lead for good with a 9-0 run that gave the Trojans a 68-59 lead with 2:51 to play.
Smith and Richardson led Coastal Carolina in scoring with 18 points each while the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer Aja Blount scored 14 points. Richardson and Blount also grabbed eight rebounds each and senior Janae Camp grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Chants.
Little Rock (14-10) was led by Teal Battle’s 17 points.