Lady Pirates Down UAB In Overtime, 78-74
Jan. 28, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team used a 19-2 run out of halftime to rally from a seven-point deficit, but it took overtime for the Lady Pirates to capture a 78-74 win over Conference USA rival UAB Thursday night at Minges Coliseum. ECU is now 16-4 overall and 5-2 in league play while the Blazers are 10-8 overall and 4-2 in conference action.
"What an exciting basketball game," head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener remarked. "This was a huge win for us because UAB is such a great team. I challenged our ladies at halftime to pick it up both offensively and defensively and they responded. We have another tough game on Saturday against Memphis so we will have to be ready."
With the victory, the Lady Pirates moved a half-game ahead of the Blazers in the league standings for second-place, as Rice pulled the upset of SMU at home 61-58.
East Carolina improved to 10-0 at home and has won 22 of its last 24 contests at Minges Coliseum.
Sophomore Ashley Clarke registered her third double-double of the season, pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds while matching her personal best with 10 assists. Four Lady Pirates complemented Clarke's fine night with double figure scoring.
UAB got on the board first with two free throws by Khalilah Watson, but East Carolina took its first lead at 6-4 on a triple by Kelly Smith at the 16:43 mark. The Blazers would stretch the lead to 11-6 on a layup, but Chareya Smith knotted the score on a layup with 14:33 left in the half.
After Allison Spivey gave the Lady Pirates a three-point lead, Jala Harris answered for UAB with a trey of her own with 11:53 showing on the clock. The game stayed tight as time wore down, as Amber Jones hit a runner to make the score 20-18 in favor of the home team at the 8:16 mark.
Harris gave the Blazers a 25-22 lead, throwing up a shot from behind the arc that banked high off the glass and fell through. East Carolina pulled within one, 25-24, on two free throws, and eventually tied it when Spivey hit two from the line with 3:41 left in the period. UAB pushed ahead by seven at the break, outscoring the Lady Pirates 7-0 the rest of the half.
Spivey scored eight points, hitting two three-point field goals to lead all ECU players in the period while Ariana Jackson pulled down a squad-best five rebounds. Spivey also handed out two assists.
Poor shooting plagued the Lady Pirates in the first 20 minutes as they converted just eight field goals on 26 attempts to produce a percentage of .308. Meanwhile, the Blazers had no such trouble, shooting .519 and making 14 field goals. East Carolina did have the advantage on the glass, however, outrebounding the visitors 20-15, including 11 offensive rebounds. The Lady Pirates also recorded six steals in the period.
Kim Gay hit a quick three to start the second half, and ECU would tie the score on a Kelly Smith jumper. Amanda Peterson and Gay then traded triples to make the score 40-40 at the 17:10 mark. Gay continued her hot streak, putting in her eighth point of the half on a jumper to give the Lady Pirates a 44-40 lead with 16:08 left in the game.
A Kelly Smith three extended the ECU lead to 49-40, its largest of the contest. However, UAB quickly drew within one with eight points in a matter of a minute and a half. The Lady Pirates went back ahead by five when Chareya Smith nailed a mid-range jumper to make the score 56-51 at the 11:25 mark.
Ariana Jackson capped a modest 5-0 run for East Carolina that gave it a double-digit lead, 61-51, but the Blazers went on a 10-1 run to come within 62-61 with 4:38 remaining. After UAB tied the game with a layup, Kelly Smith drained a deep three from the middle to give the Lady Pirates a 66-63 advantage. However, Tamika Dukes put in a layup to settle the score at 66-65 with exactly three minutes showing on the clock.
With ECU leading 70-68, Jones dropped in two free throws to knot the score with 1:12 remaining. After Chareya Smith hit an open layup, Jones scored again, hitting a tough jumper in the lane to tie the game once more. The Lady Pirates had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Kelly Smith's three bounced off the front rim.
Dukes put the first points on the board in overtime with a jumper, but ECU scored four-straight, including a trey from Kelly Smith, to assume a 76-74 lead with less than two minutes left. Peterson missed the goal on a three-point attempt from the left wing with ten seconds left, and Spivey grabbed the loose ball, then proceeded to get fouled. She hit both charity tosses to put the Lady Pirates up 78-74 as the game had just 8.4 seconds left. The Blazers failed to score on their last possession as East Carolina secured the four-point victory.
Gay led all Lady Pirates with a career-best 19 points, including a 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc, while Kelly Smith, Spivey and Chareya Smith added 15, 12 and 11 respectively. Additionally, Spivey and Chareya Smith both pulled down a squad second-best eight rebounds while Kelly Smith drained four of her six three-point attempts.
ECU recovered from a rough first half by turning in a .583 mark from the field in the second period. The Lady Pirates ended up with the .434-.397 advantage in shooting while also dominating on the boards, 46-34. East Carolina also hit a season-high 11 three-point field goals and finished with a .611 mark from beyond the arc. The Lady Pirates shared the ball well, notching 19 assists on 23 baskets.
East Carolina continues its season in just two days, as it welcomes now league-leader Memphis to Minges Coliseum for a Saturday matinee. The Tigers are 5-1 in C-USA play after a 57-50 win at Marshall earlier this evening. The Lady Pirates and Tigers are slated for a 4:30 p.m. tipoff and the contest is the first of a doubleheader with the ECU men, as they take on Rice at 7 p.m.