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Monarchs Pick Up Road Win at Coastal Carolina, 71-57

Coastal Carolina Athletics

CONWAY, S.C. – Kaye Clark and En'Dya Buford scored 14 points apiece as Old Dominion women's basketball started off its road trip with a 71-57 win over Coastal Carolina on Wednesday night at the HTC Center.

With the win, the Monarchs improve to 11-3 overall and 3-1 in Sun Belt action.

"The defensive effort that took place tonight was excellent to see," said head coach Delisha Milton-Jones. "We guarded as a unit and we played tendencies. We tried to take away their favorite things to do, we tried to make them work to get the ball, and then we also sent help. So it made it a little more difficult. It was pressure that they probably weren't use to seeing, which had them on their heels tonight and not get their numbers. That was huge for us considering the fact that they're a second-half team."

The game remained close throughout the opening quarter. After the Chanticleers (7-10, 1-3) pulled ahead 7-6, Jordan McLaughlin responded with back-to-back jumpers to give ODU a 10-7 lead. CCU tied the game at 10-10 with 2:18 to play in the first, and Halima Salat put the Monarchs back in front 12-10 with a basket at the 1:44 mark.

In the second quarter, a Zaria Hurston three-pointer and a layup by Arin Freeman put the home team up 15-12. That's when ODU took over the game. Mimi McCollister and Nnenna Orji scored a pair of layups and Buford followed with a deep ball from the left wing. Simone Cunningham completed an old-fashioned three-point play to push the lead to 23-17. The Monarchs then took over the final three and a half minutes in the half, scoring 12 unanswered to pull away. Buford started off the run with a three from the right corner, and a Brenda Fontana three from the top of the arc beat the buzzer as ODU went into the locker room leading 35-19.

The Monarchs matched the Chanticleers throughout most of the third quarter, and McLaughlin found Salat for an open three on the right wing that made it 52-31 with 1:54 to play. CCU started to get some momentum though with eight straight points, but Buford and Joy Campbell halted the run with a pair of scores as ODU went into the final stanza ahead 56-39.

Coastal Carolina ramped up its defensive pressure in the fourth quarter, forcing the Monarchs into seven turnovers. A Clark three-pointer gave ODU its largest lead at 65-41 with 7:46 remaining, but the Chants outscored the Monarchs 9-1 to trim that lead to 66-50 with 3:19 to go. Fontana then got ODU back on track with a deep ball from the left wing, and Clark rounded out the scoring for the Monarchs with a 2-for-2 effort at the line.

"They scored 20 and 18 points, respectively in the second half," continued Milton-Jones. "So they did what they normally do. They picked up the pressure and they changed the tempo. The press that they ran, it wasn't really aggressive, but we were making some boneheaded decisions with the ball that really trouble me. Had this been a Georgia Southern or a Troy, it could have been a different outcome. Thank God we had a 20-point lead to save us and be a safety net for us to weather this storm in the second half."

Clark shot 5-for-9 from the floor, 1-for-2 from beyond the arc, and 3-for-4 at the line. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native also grabbed four rebounds to go with one block and three steals. Buford finished 5-for-10 from the field, 3-for-5 from deep, and 1-for-2 at the stripe. She added three boards, three assists and three steals to her totals.

McLaughlin flirted with a double-double as she contributed nine points and eight rebounds to the victory. She also tallied five assists and two steals on the night. Fontana was next in scoring with six points and Jenny Nkem Womsi set a new season high with eight rebounds.

As a team, ODU shot a combined 27-for-69 (.391) from the field, 8-for-25 (.320) from the perimeter, and 9-for-18 (.500) at the free-throw line. The Monarchs scored more points off turnovers (27-13), more second-chance points (18-15), and more points off the bench (24-19). ODU also won the battle on the glass, 47-41.

Up next for the Monarchs is a 2 p.m. meeting with Georgia Southern this Saturday in Statesboro, Georgia.