A trying and frustrating regular season drew to a close for the Coastal Carolina women’s basketball team on Saturday as it finished a disappointing stretch with perhaps its most disappointing performance.
There was one highlight, though, as there has been most of the year.
Senior guard AJ Jordan scored 28 points in the Chanticleers’ 87-53 loss to UNC Asheville at The HTC Center to push her scoring average to 17.0 points per game and finish the regular-season as the Big South’s individual scoring leader.
Jordan had entered the game 0.2 points per game ahead of Winthrop’s Erica Williams before creating more separation with a 9-of-16 shooting performance and her second-best point output of the season.
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The Big South doesn’t formally recognize regular-season scoring titles because stats from the conference tournament will still factor into determining the official season leaders, but it’s a nice feat nonetheless for Jordan, who has been a steady bright spot through tough times for the Chants.
“Honestly, I’d give up every individual milestone to win,” she said Saturday. “I mean, yeah, it’s nice, but it’s a product of the people I’m surrounded by, it’s a product of my teammates pushing me every day in practice and my coaches being readily available to give me an outlet somewhere that I can workout and get better every day.”
Jordan was honored after the game as part of Senior Day and is now tied for the Chants’ all-time lead in games played (117) while ranking second in minutes played (3,449) and sixth on the program’s career scoring list with 1,427 points.
“AJ has been everything. I’m getting emotional now thinking about not having her next year,” Chants coach Jaida Williams said. “She’s been a phenomenal leader. She’s a phenomenal person. She is Coastal. She bleeds teal through and through. It’s going to hurt to have her move on.”
As for the team, Coastal Carolina finished the regular season 12-17 overall and 6-14 in the Big South and will be seeded ninth out of 11 teams while hosting the conference tournament next week.
The Chants finished 15-16, 10-10 last season in Williams’ first year with the program, but with losses in nine of their final 11 regular-season games, the team has taken a step back record-wise this year.
“I think we need to regroup, refocus,” Williams said. “We have it. We’re there. We just need to make sure we’re there in the games. Practices have been great. We just need to make sure that translates to our game and our play. Listening to our student-athletes in the locker room, I think they understand that.”
The loss Saturday was especially glaring as UNC Asheville (8-21, 7-13) had lost its past five games and came into the day with a worse overall record before finishing off a season sweep of the Chants in dominating fashion.
The Bulldogs built a 45-27 halftime lead and never relented while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and holding Coastal Carolina to 34-percent shooting.
Shonese Jones led the way with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
The Chants, meanwhile, simply had no balance offensively as Jordan and junior forward Anna Vogt (20 points) combined to score 90.6 percent of the team’s points.
They’ll turn around and face UNC Asheville again on Tuesday in the first round of the conference tournament.
“Fortunately we have a second chance,” Jordan said. “We have another chance to come in here on Tuesday in our house in the tournament and play them again so that’s just what we’re really focusing on right now.”