Lady Monarchs Back in the Win Column After 78-64 Victory over Coastal Carolina


ODU Athletics

Junior Guard Jordan McLaughlin drives the lane for ODU.

By Noah Fort, Associate Sports Editor

In front of a crowd of 2,587, their third largest of the season, the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs (14-9, 6-4 Sun Belt) hosted the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (10-11, 5-5 Sun Belt) in another conference matchup. The ODU women’s baskball team was coming off of their first home game loss. They fell to Texas State 52-46 on Thursday evening in a matchup that they felt they should’ve won, but they were hindered by their lack of scoring shots.  The Lady Monarchs looked to get back on track at home in their battle with Coastal Carolina. 

ODU started the game hot and wasted no time in taking control. By the first media timeout they held a 10-2 lead, which eventually became a 22-12 lead at the end of the first. ODU bench players Kaylen Nelson and Taleah Washington contributed greatly to this first quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, Nelson began making back-to-back shots. Washington assisted on a couple of three pointers and made the buzzer beating shot. This was just the beginning of ODU’s wonderful bench performance. 

Going into the second, Makayla Dickens got the Lady Monarchs going with a two-pointer, putting them up by twelve (24-12). However, the Chanticleers cut it right back to ten after their senior guard Deaja Richardson knocked down two technical free throws. She then drew a shooting foul, knocking down another two free throws. Coastal’s easy points did not deter the Lady Monarchs as they went on a six-point run and boosted the lead to 30-16. It was their defensive effort that got them through the remainder of the quarter as they forced eight turnovers. Forced turnovers were crucial to their victory. They scored a total of 23 points off 26 Chanticleer turnovers.

Along with the forced turnovers, the tenacious effort from their bench players helped to secure a victory for ODU. ODU’s bench had a star-studded performance, scoring 36 of the team’s 78  points. Brianna Jackson and Washington each had eight points while Nelson had 11. Nelson had an incredible performance off the bench as she shot 4-7 from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc, and 1-1 at the line. When asked what got her going tonight, she stated, “I just stayed calm, confident, and I stayed focused from practices to the warmups to when my number was called. We are constantly told to stay ready. And today I felt as if I did that, and I was able to come out and produce.”

Head Coach DeLisha Milton-Jones had high praise for Nelson, saying, “She may play a few scattered minutes or seconds here and then, but no matter what, she never changes. I wish there were more athletes like her.” Additionally, she highlighted that Nelson is a steady and dependable person. 

When it comes to her bench depth, Milton-Jones noted that “It is a wonderful feeling knowing that you can make substitutions … So, Kaylen coming in and providing 11 points off the bench, Taleah and Bri with eight each, that is everything for us.”

In the second half, ODU managed to stay in control. Their lead grew to as much as 18 points in the third. Major contributions came from Washington and ODU forward Amari Young. Their momentum started late in the third when Washington hit a three pointer straight out of the media timeout. It was on the next possession that Washington passed up a three and dished the ball to Young, who hit a jumper outside the paint. 

On the next play, Young made her presence known once more after getting a steal. However, ODU could not execute off the turnover. That did not stop her hustle and she got a defensive rebound off a Coastal Carolina miss. This time ODU executed off of Young’s effort with a knock down three-pointer by Washington. The Chanticleers senior guard answered right back with a three of her own, but head coach Kevin Pederson immediately called a thirty second timeout as his team was still down by a considerable amount (53-38) with 2:33 seconds left to go. With the remaining time, his team trimmed ODU’s lead. The Lady Monarchs continued to fight back and end the quarter with a 59-43 lead.

Coastal tried to get back in the game with an early 6-0 run in the fourth, but that did not keep the Lady Monarchs from scoring easy layups and jumpers. Young scored the last five points of the quarter to give her team a 78-64 victory. She led the team in points with 17, and tied for rebound leader with Jackson at eight.

Of the victory, Milton-Jones stated, “Tonight, tonight that was ODU women’s basketball. That is who we are. That is our identity, and we came out from the tip. And I love the fact that we had twenty-three more possessions than them.” At no point in the game did Coastal Carolina hold a lead. ODU held it for the majority, if not the entire,  39:43 second game.

Next up for ODU is another back-to-back road trip. They will take on Southern Miss (14-7, 7-3 Sun Belt Conference) next Thursday at 7 p.m. CST and Arkansas State (6-15, 1-9 Sun Belt Conference) the following Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CST. They will return to Chartway on Feb. 9, for what can be expected to be a tight game against Georgia Southern.