Bucs' Season Comes to an End with 80-51 Loss to Minnesota March 16, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Despite 17 points from Lakeitha Alston and another 14 from Rachelle Coward, the Charleston Southern women’s basketball team couldn’t muscle its way past Minnesota and fell to the Golden Gophers by a score of 80-51 in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational on Friday evening at Williams arena in Minneapolis.
The Buccaneers (17-15, 9-9 BSC) finish the season tied for second-place in school history for wins. They fell one short of the tying the school record of 18.
Alston and Coward led the way for the Bucs, who shot 34 percent from the field and 28.1 percent from beyond the arc. Alston was the team’s top performer, posting 17 points and eight rebounds – seven of which came on defense. Alston also had the team’s lone block of the day and added in two assists and two steals.
Coward, who had previously set the school’s single season points record, added 14 more to her tally and contributed an assist, two steals and a rebound. She was 5-for-12 from the floor and sunk a team-high four 3-pointers off of nine attempts.
Shay Jones sunk two shots from downtown and added in two more at the free-throw line for eight points. Kiki Rutledge dished out a team-high five assists and also grabbed five off the glass as the Bucs were out-rebounded 39-29 by the Golden Gophers. Erin Bratcher sunk a pair for treys for six points, while Whitney Collins and Abby Wharton each added in two points as well.
Minnesota finished with four players scoring in double figures, led by Rachel Banham’s 16 points. Kiara Buford and Micaella Riche each put up 12 apiece, while Katie Loberg chipped in with 10. Sari Noga led the rebounding effort, grabbing seven boards while Brianna Mastey dished out a team-high seven assists.
The Golden Gophers used their size to handily outscore the Bucs in the paint 44-14. They also used their rebounding to score 11 second chance points and scored 14 points off the fast break to CSU’s five.
A pair of quick buckets got things started for Minnesota, before Kionna Kellogg hit the free-throw line to pick up two more as Minnesota took a 6-2 lead early on. Jones returned the favor for the Buccaneers, cutting the deficit to two. CSU was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the first five and a half minutes of play, keeping it a two possession game at 15-10 with 14:30 to go in the first half.
A pair of treys by the Bucs, in addition to a bucket from Wharton kept it a four-point game at 22-18. However a 12-2 run that included four fastbreak points for the Golden Gophers put them ahead 34-20 with under five to play in the first stanza. Minnesota closed out the half with a 16-2 run, carrying the 50-22 advantage at the half.
The CSU offense managed just five points in the first four minutes of the second half against a strong Minnesota defense. Jones added a pair of 3-pointers, followed by another from Coward but the Bucs couldn’t work their way out of the 59-33 hole. Bratcher and Coward kept hitting shots from downtown, but again were still on the wrong end of the 77-47 deficit. Collins was able to put up two points at the free-throw line in the final minute of play as the Bucs took the 80-51 loss. Related Item: Box Score