Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SC State Women Defeat Coastal Carolina 78-55

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  --  The South Carolina State women, off to their best start in 31 years, built a 27-point halftime lead over visiting Coastal Carolina and went on to a 78-55 victory over the Chanticleers Tuesday night in a non-conference matchup at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

Guard Cabriel Duren had 15 points and four assists to lead SC State. Also in double figures were guards Kourtney Williams with 12 points and Tiara Knotts with 11. Center Fannie Goodwin added nine points and was one of three Lady Bulldogs with a team-leading seven rebounds. Knotts and forward Brittany Cochran also grabbed seven boards.

Coastal Carolina also had three players in double figures, led by Kayla Cook, who came off the bench for 14 points. Alex Puckett added 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Katelyn Connor chipped in 10 points for the Chanticleers, who fell to 6-4 with the loss.

The victory, the fourth in a row for the Lady Bulldogs gave SC State an 8-2 overall mark, the team's best start since the 1978-79 campaign when the Orangeburg institution was 9-1 in its first 10 games on its way to a 33-2 campaign, which included the AIAW Division II National Championship. It is also the best start at SC State for fifth-year head Coach Doug Robertson, who succeeded Tonya Mackey in 2008-2009.

“It's good to be off to a good start,” Robertson said following the game. “We played well in the first half, got a big lead, but played a little lackadaisical in the second half.

“I'm glad we are where we are this point in the season,” he continued, “but we are not at the place where I want us to be yet. We have to learn to put two good halves together. We've gotten off to quick starts several times this season, only to have the teams come back in the second half.”

SC State got off to a quick 18-8 start when Knotts scored on a breakaway with 13:13 on the first period clock. Following a basket by Cook, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run to build a 28-10 cushion on a short jumper by Williams with 10:40 left in the opening.

AJ Jordan connected inside the lane for the Chanticleers at the 9:35 mark but a 21-10 spree by the host to end the half sent SC State to the locker room with a 49-22 edge, matching its highest first-half point production of the season. The Lady Bulldogs also scored 49 first-half points in a 94-46 triumph over Southern Wesleyan on Nov. 27th.

Coastal scored 12 of the first 17 points in the second half to slice the lead to 54-34 following back to back baskets by Connor with 11:53 remaining but the Lady Bulldogs got 13 of the next 17 points, to fashion a 67-38 advantage with 8:48 to play on a 3-pointer by Cherisha Floyd, who had seven points in the win.
SC State took its biggest lead – 71-40 – on two foul shots by Duren with 7:46 to play and closest Coastal Carolina came after that was 19 points at 71-52 with 5:28 left on the clock.

SC State will have little time to enjoy the win as the Lady Bulldogs travel to Columbia Friday to face 21st-ranked South Carolina, which was 10-0 on the season going into a Wednesday matchup with No. 1 ranked Stanford.

The Gamecocks dominate the series as SC State's last win in the rivalry came during the 1977-78 campaign by a score of 68-64 in Orangeburg. USC won 63-44 at Columbia last season.


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