By Carey Phillips


Coastal Carolina took control early then pulled away down the stretch Sunday for a 66-43 non-conference women’s basketball victory over Western Carolina at the Ramsey Center.

Aja Blount scored 16 points for the Lady Chanticleers. Zacharyia Esmon added 11, and Torrie Cash had 10.

Jewel Smalls had a huge game on the boards with 18 rebounds and scored 17 points for the Lady Cats (1-7).

WCU led 8-6 on Smalls’ three-pointer with 5:05 to play in the first period.

Coastal took the lead for good at 10-8 on Cash’s basket off a steal at the 3:06 mark. It was part of a 14-3 run, including five by Caitlin Roche, for a 20-11 advantage at the quarter break.

Esmon’s three-pointer put the Lady Chants up 23-13 with 9:37 to play in the half.

Blount’s two free throws with 36 seconds on the clock made it 35-22 at halftime.

Coastal’s lead never dropped below seven in the third period, which ended with a 48-36 margin.

The Lady Chants scored the fourth quarter’s first 14 points, including six by Blount, to lead 62-36 after Tiarra Davis’ layup at the 3:46 mark.

Coastal shot 36.8 percent from the floor, and Western made just 25.8 percent of its attempts.

Despite the efforts of Smalls and Judith Martin-Ruiz, who had 11 boards, the Lady Chants had a 47-42 rebounding edge. They were led by D.J. Williams with eight.

The Lady Cats committed 16 turnovers, and Coastal had nine.

Completing the WCU scoring were Tembre Moates with six, Lauren LaPlant, Judith Martin-Ruiz and Andrea Martin-Ruiz, all with five, Diarra Smith with three and Mia Littlejohn with two.