HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Limestone University women’s basketball team pulled ahead by 11 points late in the third quarter, but it could not protect a pair of leads in the final period as Coker University rallied behind a 30-point outburst in the fourth to keep the Saints winless on the road with an 83-78 decision.
Score: Coker 83, Limestone 78
Records: Coker (3-5, 3-4), Limestone (3-5, 3-5)
Location: DeLoach Center
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Junior Quin Byrd (Fountain Inn, S.C.) led all scorers with 23 points
- Freshman Reagan Kargo (Summerfield, N.C.) finished with 18 points and five rebounds
- Senior Josie Long (Madison, Fla.) scored 12 points off the bench
- Sophomore Alaan West (Harvey, La.) pulled down nine boards to go with five points
- Playing in foul trouble most of the game, junior Reagan McCray (Davie, Fla.) added eight points
- Limestone went 27-of-63 (43%) from the field and 10-of-26 (39%) from three-point range
- The Saints were 5-of-17 (29%) from the floor in the fourth quarter while Coker went 9-of-20 (45%)
- The short-handed Saints were dominated on the boards, 55-32, including giving up 26 offensive boards – Coker took advantage with an 18-10 margin in second-chance points
HOW IT HAPPENED
It took a few possessions for either team to crack the scoreboard, but the Cobras scored on the inside at the 7:32-mark of the first quarter before Byrd answered on the other end with a three. Coker then went on a 9-2 run, but a long-range strike by McCray closed the gap to 11-8 for the Saints at the media timeout.
Limestone continued to use the three-point line effectively as back-to-back bombs from Kargo put the visitors back on top, 14-13, with 3:24 remaining in the first. Trailing by three in the closing minutes of the period, consecutive buckets by West capped a 6-2 mini-run as the Saints led 20-19 at the end of one.
A steal and score by Byrd and a layup from sophomore Destiny Jackson (Severn, Md.) staked Limestone to a 25-21 lead a few ticks into the second quarter, but a pair of triples highlighted a quick 6-2 counterstrike as the Cobras even things up at 27 with 6:08 remaining in the opening half.
However, a long-distance connection from McCray and five straight points by Byrd powered an 8-0 spurt for the Saints, making it 35-27 with 3:58 remaining. Another bucket by Byrd gave the Blue and Gold a six-point edge with 86 seconds left, but Coker tallied the final five points to close to within 37-36 at the half.
The Cobras extended the overall run to 8-0 to start the second half, taking a 39-37 lead less than a minute into play. Long, who scored all 12 of her points in the second half, knocked down a corner three before graduate Lynadia Whiting (Waterbury, Conn.) scored on the break to put Limestone back on top.
Kargo matched a Coker three-pointer with her third triple of the game to keep the Saints in front, but the home team once again tied things up at 45-all with 7:15 left in the third. A short jumper by Whiting and four straight points from Byrd sparked a 15-4 surge, giving the Blue and Gold its largest lead of the night, 60-49. A conventional three-point play by Kargo and another corner three by Long helped power the run.
The Cobras refused to go away, cutting the lead to 60-53 late in the period, but a pair from the charity stripe by Long would give Limestone a 62-53 advantage with three full quarters in the books. The Saints shot 50-percent from the field to pull out to a double-digit lead, but the well soon ran dry in the fourth.
The Saints struggled on offense to begin the final period, missing the first five shot attempts of the quarter while turning the ball over three times during a nearly five-minute stretch. Although Long snapped the drought for Limestone at the 5:12-mark, Coker used that lull to power ahead with a decisive 14-2 run.
Trailing 68-64 with 4:58 showing on the clock, Limestone fought back as two free throws by Kargo and a layup from Long started an 11-5 stretch to give the visitors a 75-73 edge with 90 seconds left. The Saints could not hold on in the late stages, however, as Coker rattled off five straight to pull ahead 78-75 with 21 ticks left. Byrd closed the margin to 79-78 with a three-point play, but Coker finished off the win at the line.
Despite playing short-handed and seeing its first action in nearly three weeks, Limestone built up a double-digit lead, 60-49, with 1:47 left in the third quarter. However, Coker would almost double up the Saints, 34-18, over the final 11 minutes. Nevertheless, the Blue and Gold had an opportunity to collect its first road win over the final 90 seconds, but the Cobras closed things out with a 10-3 win in the late going.
- Former long-time assistant coach Melissa DeVore picked up her first win against her alma mater
- Limestone remains winless on the road in 2020-21, falling to 0-4 away from the Timken Center
- Coker snapped a seven-game skid against the Saints that dated back to 2012
- It was Limestone’s first loss in Hartsville since January 6, 2011
- The Blue and Gold played without two of its post players, leading to a lopsided 55-32 disadvantage on the boards – Coker pulled down 26 offensive rebounds
- Sophomore Charlotte Terry (Cape Coral, Fla.), who had missed the first seven games of the year, made her first career start – she finished with two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes
Limestone will get another crack at posting its first road win of the season when it travels to take on Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday, January 9 at 2 p.m.