Shorthanded Pirates Edged By Blazers
Jan. 8, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - A severely shorthanded East Carolina team held UAB without a basket for the final nine minutes of the game Sunday, but dropped a tough-luck 44-39 decision to the Blazers at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates drop to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in Conference USA play while UAB leaves Greenville at 11-3 and 2-0.
The Pirates, playing at home for the first time since Dec. 7, limited the Blazers to just 18-percent shooting and nine field goals - including three in the second half - but shot only 28 percent themselves (16-for-58). East Carolina also ended up with a 44-43 advantage on the glass with each squad pulling down 16 offensive rebounds.
UAB won the game at the foul line, where it was awarded 26 free throw attempts as compared to just five for ECU. The Blazers made good on the tries, knocking down 21 to account for nearly half of their points. The visitors also entered the contest shooting at 30 percent from beyond the three-point line, but made just five of 24 while the Pirates hit three of 17 from long distance. Collectively, the squads combined for 37 turnovers which resulted in 30 points off those miscues.
Karisma Chapman paced all players with 11 points while Britny Edwards picked up a game-best 12 rebounds. Edwards added a squad-high nine points and matched Bryelle Smith with three steals. Celeste Stewart handed out five of ECU's 11 assists.
East Carolina grabbed three steals in the first four minutes of the game, building an 8-2 lead at the first official timeout. UAB would rally with five-straight points to pull within 8-7 at the 13:24 mark, but a Tatiana Chapple layup with 7:52 remaining in the half stretched the lead back to three at 13-10.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Edwards made the score 16-12 as the clock moved under three minutes. However, the Blazers were able to tie the proceedings at 20 when Khalilah Watson drained a pair of free throws with 1:21 remaining before the break. Smith had a chance to snatch the lead back at the buzzer, but her runner in the lane bounced off the left rim and out.
Chapple and Stewart dropped in four points each in the opening 20 minutes while Edwards pulled down six rebounds. Each team shot 26 percent as well with the Pirates holding a slight 21-18 advantage in the rebounding column.
UAB used four free throws to build a 26-20 cushion during the initial four minutes of the second period, but an Edwards jumper in the paint capped an 8-2 run over the next 4:20 which knotted the score at 28. Amber Jones nailed a free throw to afford the Blazers another six-point lead at 36-30 with 8:28 left in the contest.
ECU would then answer with five consecutive points to pull within one and held UAB to just one point all the way down to the 2:10 mark, however, numerous offensive chances missed the mark or rolled off the rim as the Pirates could not score either.
A Chapple jumper in the paint made the score 39-37 in favor of the visitors with 55 second remaining. Pratt pushed the lead back to four when she hit a pair of free throws, but Chapple answered again on the Pirates' next possession - this time with a layup. Watson would then miss the back end of a one-and-one situation at the line, giving East Carolina the chance to tie with a three-point field goal as the home team trailed 42-39 with 30 seconds on the clock.
Katie Paschal wiggled free on the right wing for the tying three-point field goal try as a Blazer defender fell to the floor, but her shot was barely off the mark. Kristine Mial grabbed the offensive rebound and tried to score, however, she missed and Jones was able to grab the rebound and throw the ball to Pratt. The UAB guard was fouled by Paschal and Pratt was true on both free throw attempts to account for the final margin.
ECU returns to action a week from today, traveling to Memphis for a showdown with the C-USA preseason favorite Tigers. Tipoff at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse is slated for 2 p.m.