March 9, 2012

Buccaneers Edge Lady Camels in Big South Quarters 57-53

HIGH POINT, N.C.-Rachelle Coward and Lakeitha Alston combined for 27 second half points to lift fifth-seeded Charleston Southern over No. 4 Campbell 57-53 in Friday's quarterfinal round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship at High Point's Millis Center.

CSU improves to 17-13 with the win, advancing to face top-seeded Liberty tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., while Campbell dips to 18-12 on the season. The win was the Buccaneers' first ever over the Lady Camels, who now own a 25-1 record over CSU.

Coward, a redshirt junior forward, posted 20 points for the game, adding five rebounds, while Alston, a junior post, scored 17 with eight boards and four steals. Shay Jones added nine points for the Buccaneers with five rebounds, while Erin Bratcher collected seven points and four rebounds in the win.

Senior forward Katelyn Bass paced Campbell with 19 points, one shy of a career high, and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. The Wake Forest, N.C. native added three blocks, tying a career-best.

Tonisha Baker, a junior guard, who picked up 500th career rebound in the game, posted 15 points and 12 boards. The double-double marked her team-high eighth of the season. The High Point, N.C. native tacked on four assists and three steals.

Sophomore forward Roslyn Presley added eight points off the bench with three rebounds, while freshman guard Kiera Gaines tallied four points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Kate Cloxton and Amanda O'Neill, both playing in their 119th career game, second-most in program history, combined for five points, four rebounds and three assists.

After taking a 25-21 lead into the half, a quick 10-4 CSU run eliminated the Campbell advantage, putting the Buccaneers ahead 31-29 on Alston's layup at the 15:39 mark.

With the Lady Camels still facing a one point deficit at 38-37 with 10:33 to play, Tonisha Baker's pair from the line gave Campbell back the lead.

Three Buccaneer triples wrapped around a jumper and a free throw from Katelyn Bass, however, amounted to a 9-3 CSU run and a 47-42 Charleston Southern lead at the 7:22 mark.

Campbell still faced a five point deficit at 50-45 with 4:53 to go, but reeled off an 8-2 spurt, capped off by Kate Cloxton's jumper of the Roslyn Presley give with 1:19 remaining.

With 27 seconds to play, however, Rachelle Coward's deep trey from the right wing lifted CSU out front, 55-53.

The Lady Camels would have one more chance, but after a misfire and a CSU rebound, Coward sank both of her free throw attempts to seal the 57-53 win.

Campbell shot 29 percent in the second half (9-for-31) after posting a 47.8 percent clip in the first (11-for-23). Charleston Southern, meanwhile, warmed up from 20 percent shooting (7-for-35) in the first to register 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) in the second.

The Buccaneers drained nine field goals from deep, including five from Coward. The loss was just Campbell's second of the season when holding its opponent under 60 points (17 games).

Campbell's 18 wins are the program's most overall victories since 2000-01 when the team posted 22. The team will also finish with a winning record for the first time since that season. This year will be the 20th winning season for Lady Camel head coach Wanda Watkins, and the 28th overall for the program dating back to 1972-73. 

The Lady Camels, playing in their first Big South Championship since 1994, are now 12-8 all-time in the conference's tournament (nine tournaments), and 5-3 in quarterfinal rounds.