Coastal Carolina women hang on for 65-61 win over Marshall

(CCU Athletics)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:16 AM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. – Graduate student Aja Blount scored a game-high 18 points to lead four players in double figures for Coastal Carolina, which opened a 23-point lead before hanging on for a 65-61 win over Marshall in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday night at the HTC Center.

Coastal led nearly the entire game and built a 23-point lead midway through the third quarter before Marshall closed to within four points at 59-55 with a minute remaining. Coastal held on by making 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch.

Blount, a 5-11 forward, was supported by the guard trio of Angie Juste-Jean, who had 15 points, Arin Freeman, who had 14 and Deaja Richardson, who added 12, including 10 in the second half. Anaya Barney, a freshman sharp-shooting guard, was well below her scoring average with just three points, but she grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for the Chanticleers, who snapped a two-game losing streak to sit at 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the Sun Belt.

Marshall, now 9-7 and 2-3 in the Sun Belt, was led by Abby Beeman, who led three players in double figures with 15 points. Roshala Scott added 11 points, but the team’s leading scorer at 18 points a game, had only four points heading into the final quarter, hitting on just 2-of-14 shots.

“We did not close it out the way we wanted to. We had a nice lead and then gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter,” said first-year Coastal head coach Kevin Pederson. “But that was a real good win for us. We needed this one after coming off two tough home losses. We hit the free throw when we needed to and that was the difference.”

Juste-Jeansparked Coastal to an early 10-4 lead, scoring seven points in the first four minutes of play. Then, after a sluggish start, Blount caught fire. She scored eight points from close range in a 10-3 run that lifted the Chants to a 29-18 lead. Next, it was Freeman who scored her team’s next eight points to give Coastal a 35-23 advantage at the half. Freeman and Blount tallied all 16 points for CCU in the second quarter while holding Marshall to just 4-of-16 shooting in the period.

Blount had 12 points at the break, while Juste-Jean had 10, even though she sat the entire second quarter because of two fouls. Coastal led by as many as 15 (34-19) and held the upper hand for all but 27 seconds in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Chants stretched their lead to 23 points early in the third quarter with an 11-0 run, as Juste-Jean, Richardson, and Barney each hit three-pointers.

The two teams were close in field goals made, but the difference was at the free throw line, where Coastal sank 18-of-24 attempts, while Marshall was just 7-of-14. Richardson hit 8-of-10 from the line, including 3-of-4 in the three minutes. Freeman also added 3-of-4 in the last 55 seconds, and Juste-Jean went a perfect 4-of-4 for the night.

Coastal will conclude its four-game home stand by hosting South Alabama at 2 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. Then the Chants take to the road for matchups at Georgia State (Jan. 19) and Appalachian State (Jan. 21) before returning to the HTC Center to face conference leader James Madison on Thurs., Jan. 26.