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Trio of Highlanders set personal bests in 67-66 loss to Coastal

RADFORD, Va. - Three Radford women’s basketball players set personal bests, but Coastal Carolina staged a late comeback to edge the Highlanders, 67-66, in Big South action Monday afternoon inside the Dedmon Center.

With 12 seconds remaining and RU (2-11, 0-4 Big South) on top, 66-65, the Chanticleers’ Angelica Henry drove the length of the court and drew a foul near the baseline. The senior guard converted both free throws to give Coastal (7-5, 3-0 Big South) a 67-66 favor with seven seconds to go.

After the Chants called a timeout, Radford inbounded the ball underneath its own basket. With Coastal applying full-court pressure, the Highlanders struggled to get the ball across half court and time ran out. Despite the result, head coach Mike McGuire saw his team improve in some areas.
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“We got better today. Our intensity and competitiveness had been lacking in recent games, but today those two traits gave us a chance to win. We were also more assertive and were smart with our shot selection for the most part.”

That intensity and competitiveness shined especially in three Highlanders. Playing the entire game, Ayana Averychalked up a career-high 24 points, including 17 in the first half, on 9-of-18 shooting to lead all scorers. Kiera McIvorconnected on 6-of-12 from the floor on her way to a career-best 16 points. Also reaching double-figure scoring and tying her season high was Kermisha Clark, who dropped in 11 points.

AJ Jordan, who entered the game second in the Big South in scoring, tallied 23 points to guide the Chants’ offense. The junior guard also collected a career-high 13 rebounds. Alexx Puckett notched 16 points and nine rebounds, while Henry contributed 13 points and a game-high five steals.

RU hit 42.1 percent of its shots, marking the fifth time this season the squad has crossed the 40 percent threshold. On the defensive side, the Highlanders limited Coastal to 35.8 percent shooting.

Behind Avery’s 17 points and Radford’s 41 percent shooting, the Highlanders took a 32-31 lead at halftime. The Highlanders used a 14-1 run to grab a 10-point lead midway through the opening stanza. However, the Chants closed the gap and took a brief one-point advantage before Radford regained the lead with 1:20 left and carried a lead into intermission for the first time since Nov. 12 against Lynchburg.

Radford hits the road for Thursday’s Big South clash against Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Paul Porter Arena.

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