CONWAY — Coming into Saturday’s Big South contest with Longwood, the Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team had lost seven of its previous nine games, including the last two.
The Chanticleers got back on track against the Lancers.
Three players scored in double figures for Coastal, and the Chanticleers had a big second half as they defeated Longwood 64-55 in The HTC Center.
“I was really proud of the defensive effort tonight,” said coach Jaida Williams, whose team is sixth in the Big South standings. “I thought they did a good job executing the game plan.”
Coastal was playing without freshman guard Karsen Sims, who has started 13 of the Chanticleers 22 games. The void led to some sloppy play as Coastal had 13 turnovers in the first half opposed to the Lancers’ eight, and Longwood outscored the Chanticleers 16-7 in points off turnovers during the frame.
“I would attribute [the turnovers] to us adjusting to the change in the starting lineup,” Williams said.
But the struggles Coastal had in the first half went away as the Chanticleers opened the second half on a 16-1 run to take a 45-33 advantage, its largest lead of the game, with about 11 minutes remaining. The Chanticleers never looked back.
“It was extremely important,” senior Alexx Puckett said of the run. “At halftime we sat down and talked about what we could do differently because we were down in the first half. We just attacked the basket and we were making our free throws.”
The Chanticeers (11-11, 7-6 Big South) held the Lancers to 18-of-56 (27.7 percent) from the field, while Coastal shot 36 percent.
“Our defense was great today,” said Puckett, who was a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards. “We did something different that we haven’t really been practicing much so it was working and we just decided we were going to stay with it and it worked.”
Four Chanticleers (Puckett, AJ Jordan, Katelyn Connor, Angelica Henry) had six points in the first half. Henry finished with a team-high 17 points and Jordan scored 16 along with six boards.
“We were still adjusting to having a change in the starting lineup,” Williams said. “I think the second half we adjusted just fine.”
Longwood (6-16, 3-10 Big South) is on a six-game losing streak. The Lancers’ Daeisha Brown scored a game-high 25 points, with 14 coming in the first half.
“She’s a heck of a player,” Williams said of Brown. “She can really get into the paint and keep going. So we knew she would come at us.”
Now that the Chanticleers’ losing streak is behind them, they’re looking forward to playing Big South foe Liberty, which has lost two straight Big South contests for the first time since 1997. Coastal will travel to Liberty for a 7 p.m. game Thursday.
“[Liberty plays] extremely hard,” Williams said. “I expect our student-athletes to come out and play really hard. We’re excited for it. Go Chants.”
Despite being sixth in the Big South standings, the Chanticleers are just two games out of third place with seven conference games remaining.
“Our expectations are to just go up from here,” Puckett said. “We came out of a slump and we’re looking to stay out of the slump.”
Contact MAX MCKINNON at 626-0302.