The College of Charleston Cougars hosted the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Seahawks Wednesday night at TD Arena.
The College clenched the win (68-24) as seniors Jackie Luna-Castro, Lauren Hines and Kesley Booth showed out in front of the home crowd for Senior Night, closing out the regular season.
The Cougars intensity was palpable— although they lost the tip, their defensive energy forced the Seahawks into missing an easy lay up, which was converted for the first two points of the game by Luna-Castro.
UNCW responded with their own drive and lay up, counteracted by a fast pass to Luna-Castro for a corner jumper and giving the Cougars a 4-2 lead they never relinquished.
Bre Bolden, securing another seven steals this game, drove to the basket for a three-point play, which was followed shortly by a perfectly executed and arched three-pointer from Hines. A big block by Luna-Castro was cast off to Bolden for another layup, followed again by a cascading three-pointer from Hines putting the College up 18-2.
Shots were falling and Cougar defensive intensity was turned all the way up, holding the Seahawks to only two points until the final second of the first period when Jasmine Steele managed to put UNCW on the board one more time before the buzzer, ending the first period 18-4.
Cougars held the lead and the intensity going into the second quarter, their effective half-court traps put pressure on the ball handlers. Hines drained another three along with Luna-Castro, and a last second assist from Bolden to Luna-Castro closed out the half with a solid 34-15 lead for College of Charleston.
The second half started with a steal and a drive by Bolden as well as a quick turnaround jumper by Booth from the top of the key. Cougar defense remained strong, forcing two shot-clock violations on UNCW—who only managed to score three points in the third quarter. Luna-Castro and junior Courtney Gardner fought to the foul line and ended the third period with a 51-18 lead.
The final quarter consisted of Luna-Castro, Booth and Hines giving the Cougar Nation a show of offensive skill. The seniors showed out in the stats, Luna-Castro finishing with 26, Hines with 16, and Booth with six. There were also 15 rebounds among them.
This blowout win ended the Cougars’ six game losing streak and sent the three seniors out with a bang. It was a great closing of the regular season, hopefully giving the College some momentum going into playoffs.