Coastal Carolina connected on 29 free throws to claim a 76-59 Senior Day win over Winthrop on Saturday in the final regular-season Big South Conference meeting between the two longtime rivals.
Coastal, a charter member of the conference who is departing after this year to join the Sun Belt , jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead and was never threatened by Winthrop in the regular season finale for both teams. Winthrop (4-25, 3-17 BSC) is the 11th seed and will face No. 6 seed High Point next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Women’s Big South Conference Championship Tournament at UNC Asheville. Coastal (12-17, 7-13) will go into the tournament as the No. 9 seed.
The win gives Coastal a 44-39 all-time lead in the series, which had been dominated in recent years by Winthrop. The Eagles, who defeated Coastal at home three weeks ago, went into the game with 10 wins in the last 12 games against the Chanticleers.
Coastal finished the afternoon by making 29 of 35 free throws compared to 14 of 22 for Winthrop. That proved to be the difference. CCU connected on 22 of 47 field goals (47 pct.) while Winthrop was 21 of 58 (36 pct.).
Despite the loss, Winthrop had its most balanced scoring attack of the season with four players in double figures. Aliyah Kilpatrick was the game’s leading scorer with 15 followed by Arianne Whitaker with 12. The Jackson twins — Naima and Nuba — finished with 11 and 10, respectively. The Chanticleers also placed four players in double figures, led by Gibson’s 14 and 13 from Josei Utley. Coastal’s set of twins — Nicole and Stephanie Isaacs — finished with 12 and 10 points.
Five different players combined to score Coastal’s first 11 points as the Chanticleers led 11-2 at the first media timeout. Winthrop made just one of its first nine field goals to fall behind and never seriously threatened the home team.
The Eagles trailed by seven at 19-12 after the first period. They cut the deficit to nine with 3:24 left in the first half at 29-20 following a Naima Jackson jumper, but Yasmin Miller came off the bench to score Coastal’s last eight points, including six from the free throw stripe, to take a 37-24 lead at halftime.
Back-to-back layups by the Isaacs twins to open the third quarter extended the lead to 17 at 41-24. Coastal took its largest lead of the game at 20 after Gibson’s two free throws made it a 51-31 game with 3:20 left in the period. Winthrop then made its final push by outscoring the Chants 11-3 in the last three minutes of the third period to trail 54-42 heading into the final quarter. The Eagles would get no closer.