Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs had three players post double digit points, yet it wasn't enough as the women's basketball team dropped its Big South Conference opener to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 65-62 on Saturday afternoon in Paul Porter Arena.
Gardner-Webb falls to 4-3 overall and 0-1 in the Big South with its first home loss of the season, while Coastal Carolina improves to 5-2 and 1-0 in the Big South with its first road win of the year.
GWU outscored the Chanticleers 38-24 in points in the pain and 21-13 in second chance points, as the Runnin' Bulldogs dominated the glass by out rebounding Coastal Carolina 52-36 for the game.
Despite dominating the paint, the Runnin' Bulldogs struggled at the free throw line for the contest, shooting only 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from the charity stripe as a team.
Guard Mayhana Dunovant and center Catrina Green, who posted 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Jessica Heilig added 11 points in 26 minutes of play, led GWU. Green hauled down a game-high 13 points to record her fourth double -double of the season, while fellow junior Jasmine Dale posted six points, nine rebound and four assists in the loss.
Coastal Carolina, who scored 20 points off 18 Runnin' Bulldog turnovers, had four players in double figures on the afternoon led by Katelyn Connor and AJ Jordan who had 14 points apiece. Angelica Henry and Alexx Puckett added 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Connor also pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Chanticleers.
Gardner-Webb took an early 2-0 lead out of the gates, as Green scored on a lay up from the right block 13 seconds into the contest. However, the basket was the start of a back-and-forth affair for most of the first half, as the two teams traded the lead seven times over the first 10 minutes of play.
After a made free throw by GWU's Heilig tied the score up at 11-11 with 13:23 to go in the first half, Coastal Carolina's Puckett hit a jump shot with 13:09 on the clock to put the visitors in front once more by two at 13-11.
Over the rest of the first half of play, Coastal Carolina had an answer for every Runnin' Bulldog basket, as the home team cut the lead to one at 19-18 on a three-pointer by Dunovant at the 7:53 mark.
The Runnin' Bulldogs tied the score up twice over the next five minutes of play, yet couldn't regain the lead and trailed 29-28 going into the halftime break.
The two teams' continued to swap baskets to start the second half, as the Runnin' Bulldogs remained within four points of the Chanticleers for the first six minutes of the second period until a lay up by Jordan and a three-pointer by Shatia Cole pushed the Chanticleers in front by nine at 43-34 with 13:54 to go in the game.
Coastal Carolina pushed its lead out to as high as 10 at 48-38, only to see the Runnin' Bulldogs cut the lead to four on a lay up Dale with 9:04 to play.
Gardner-Webb cut the lead to four on two more occasions, yet its free throw struggles in the second half (10-of-20) allowed the Chanticleers to stay out in front of the home team for the remainder of the half.
A rebound and put back lay up by freshman Olivia Parker with 26 seconds on the clock put the Runnin' Bulldogs down by three at 65-62.
Coastal Carolina missed two free throws, however, the Runnin' Bulldogs missed a lay up and could not convert on two last second three-point attempts to fall to the Chanticleers 65-62.
The loss is the Runnin' Bulldogs second straight to the Chanticleers after Gardner-Webb had won the previous six meetings.
Gardner-Webb (4-3, 0-1 Big South) will return to action next Sunday afternoon, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will host Longwood in a non-conference showdown at 3 p.m. in Paul Porter Arena.
Coastal Carolina (5-2, 1-0 Big South) will also have a long break before returning to action on December 13th to host Converse College at 5 p.m. in The HTC Center.