Williams' big game

Coastal's DJ Williams scores her 50th point of the night. She finished the game with 51.

DJ Williams gave Coastal Carolina fans a night to remember Thursday as the senior guard went off for 51 points in the Chanticleers' 124-103 victory over Troy.
 
The victory put Coastal (20-3, 10-2 conference) atop the Sun Belt standings, and the Chanticleers avenged an 84-77 loss to the Trojans on Jan. 2.
 
“I was telling everyone in Horry County that if there is one game that they could come out and watch at the HTC Center, it had to be this game,” Coastal women’s basketball coach Jaida Williams said. “I knew that both teams did not disappoint tonight. It was definitely a fun game to watch.”
 
The first quarter started off at a breakneck pace. Both teams were back-and-forth with each other as the Trojans looked to push the floor and run a quick tempo offense. 
 
Williams said she knew her team had to match Troy's energy.
 
“That’s how my team loves to play,” she said. “That is the preferred style of play … most teams try to get in the way of that. We feel that that style of play tonight though worked to our advantage.”
 
Troy led for a majority of the first quarter but a late push by Coastal saw the Chanticleers go into the second quarter with a 33-27 lead.
 
Once they had that lead, there was no looking back. Despite the Trojans coming within three midway through the second quarter, the Chanticleers had a 62-53 lead going into the halftime break. 
 
At the half, DJ Williams had 26 points.
 
“I woke up today knowing something special was going to happen, but I didn’t know what it was,” DJ Williams said. “Everything for me today was kind of out of the ordinary. My routine, all of it. So at halftime I was told I had 20 something points and I told myself, 'Oh, I could possibly get 50.'”
 
And that she did.
 
Williams nearly matched her first half total, scoring 25 points in the second half to reach 51 total points on the night.
 
The 51-point performance is the most points scored by any women’s college basketball player this season across all divisions. It is also a school record for women’s basketball and DJ is the first Coastal Carolina women’s player to score 50 points in a single game, breaking Andrea Singleton’s record set during the 1985-86 season. 
 
The 51 points in a single game is also the second most points scored in a single game by any Coastal Carolina basketball player, men’s or women’s. That record is held by CCU men’s basketball player Howard White, who scored 52 points in a game against the College of Charleston during the 1974-75 season.
 
DJ was a walking stat line, finishing the night with 51 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, two steals and no turnovers. 
 
“She channeled her inner Kobe,” her coach said. “This was probably the most complete game I have ever seen her play. From the tip off, she had a look in her eye and I thought oh we’re going to ride this thing all to the way to the end.”
 
“This was nice to have, but it is currently secondary to the bigger goal we are trying to achieve and that is a Sun Belt championship,” DJ Williams said. 
 
While the senior certainly stole the show — her performance ultimately got her on Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter segment “The Best Thing I Saw Today” — it was definitely a team effort.
 
Senior guard Torrie Cash recorded a career-high 23 points, hitting two key three-point shots to open the second half.
 
“I had no idea that I was going to shoot the ball the way I did tonight,” Cash said. “I’m usually the kind of player that finds my teammates and do what I can to help the team win. So for me to shoot like this tonight is awesome.”
 
“I’m so proud of Torrie. She’s a winner,” Jaida Williams said. “She’s been so consistent for us recently. Our bench definitely came up big for us tonight. Kaylin West played lights out defense. We could not win this game tonight if we did not have her defense.”
 
The HTC Center certainly was rocking from the moment tip off happened to the final buzzer, with chants of “DJ”, “MVP” and the Chanticleer tradition of “C-I-N-O”. That energy did not go unnoticed from the coaches and players.
 
“We are very thankful for the students, the fans in the community and everyone that came out tonight,” Jaida Williams said. “It was dream. It has been a dream of ours to have something like that.”
 
Despite being in first place, the team isn't looking ahead to March just yet.
 
“We have six more games to go,” Jaida Williams said.
 
Coastal Carolina returns to the HTC Center Saturday afternoon to take on South Alabama. Tip off is at 2 p.m.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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