After being on the wrong end of a senior night game a week ago, the Winthrop Eagles women's basketball team wanted to send their own seniors out in style Monday night.
An 84-47 victory over Coastal Carolina in front of 494 fans at Winthrop Coliseum was the perfect home finale for the Eagles' seniors, forward Kaitlyn Rubino and center TaQuioa Hammick.
"We had a pretty bad senior night experience at High Point," Winthrop coach Marlene Stollings said, referring to an 81-50 loss Feb. 27. "So tonight we said we wanted to win a game like that one for our own seniors, and they ran with it."
And ran, and ran.
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Junior guard Samiya Wright posted a career high for the second straight game with 30 points, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Dequesha McClanahan scored 23 points and dished out nine assists while reaching the 1,000 career points milestone in the first half. And junior forward Diana Choibekova scored 16 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Eagles (18-12, 12-6) , who have won eight of their past 10 games.
They'll be the No. 3 seed in the Big South Conference tournament at High Point, facing No. 6 Radford in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"It's no surprise to us," McClanahan said of the Eagles' much improved record over last season's 13-17 mark. "We've worked for it."
There was never much doubt about the outcome in Monday night's game. The Eagles took the lead for good at 8-6 about five minutes into the game on a McClanahan 3-pointer. By the time she hit the jump shot that put her over the 1,000-point mark with 8 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first half it was 30-10. It didn't get any better for the Chanticleers (13-14, 6-12), who have lost six of their past seven games.
Winthrop led 44-20 at halftime and rolled on to as much as a 40-point lead in the closing minutes.
"If we play the way we played at the beginning of the game, we can pretty much stay with anybody," said Wright, who has scored 56 points in the past two games.
Katelyn Connor led Coastal Carolina scoring with nine points and the Eagles held the Chanticleers' top offensive threats, guards Shatia Cole and Olivia Irick, to a combined four of 18 from the field. Coastal Carolina shot 29 percent from the field and the Eagles got most of the misses, claiming a whopping 59-36 rebounding advantage.
"We're playing some of our best basketball of the season in the last three weeks," Stollings said. "Winning breeds winning and with that comes confidence."
NOTES: Hammick scored seven points and pulled down eight rebounds and Rubino scored one point and grabbed eight rebounds in the final home game for the seniors. ... McClanahan now has 1,011 career points, only the second women's player in Big South history to pass the 1,000-point mark before her junior season.
COASTAL CAROLINA 47
COASTAL CAROLINA (13-14, 6-12): Taylor Epley 2-4 0-0 4, Shatia Cole 1-6 0-0 3, Olivia Irick 3-12 0-0 7, Kayla Cook 3-14 2-2 8, Kira Carter 3-8 0-0 7, A.J. Jordan 3-7 0-0 6, Jena Hamrick 0-1 0-0 0, Savannah Pippin 1-4 1-2 3, Angelica Henry 0-1 0-0 0, Katelyn Connor 3-8 3-3 9. Totals 19-65 6-7 47.
WINTHROP (18-12, 12-6): Kaitlyn Rubino 0-1 1-2 1, TaQuioa Hammick 2-4 3-4 8, Diana Choibekova 6-19 0-0 16, Dequesha McClanahan 9-22 2-2 23, Samiya Wright 10-19 5-6 30, Tiffany Charles 2-6 1-2 5, Taylor Calvert 0-0 0-0 0, Mary Hathaway 0-0 0-0 0, Dee Gray 0-5 2-2 2, Kelsey Corcoran 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 29-77 14-20 84.
Three-point goals: Coastal Carolina 3-19 (3 players with 1 each), Winthrop 12-29 (Wright 5-9). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Coastal Carolina 36 (Cook 8), Winthrop 59 (Choibekova 10). Assists: Coastal Carolina 13 (Hamrick 4), Winthrop 15 (McClanahan 9). Total fouls: Coastal Carolina 16, Winthrop 8. Technical fouls: Coastal Carolina: Cole.