Tulane Eliminates East Carolina, 83-72
March 10, 2011
EL PASO, Texas - East Carolina could not overcome a six-point halftime deficit in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Buick Conference USA Championship, falling to No. 4 seed Tulane 83-72 at Memorial Gymnasium Thursday. The Pirates end the tournament with a winning overall record at 16-15 and the Green Wave (21-9) advance to take on the winner of the Houston-UTEP contest in the semifinals.
Senior Kim Gay matched her career high with 26 points while draining a personal-best five three-point field goals and was complemented by 18 and 12-point performances from Ashley Clarke and Chareya Smith. Gay also led the team with eight rebounds while Smith handed out a career-best four assists.
Tulane cooled down considerably from the field after halftime, hitting 42 percent of their shots to end up at 48 percent for the game. The Pirates knocked down 26 shots on 63 attempts to finish at 41 percent. East Carolina ended up with the edge in rebounding at 39-37, but the Green Wave out-scored ECU 34-22 in the paint. Tulane also hit 10 three-pointers as compared to nine for the Pirates.
Four different Tulane players scored in the first four minutes and the Green Wave hit six of their first seven shots to take a 15-8 lead. Danielle Nunn then scored five-straight points to extend the advantage to 12 and force an ECU timeout.
The Green Wave led by as many as 14 before the Pirates put together a 15-5 run to pull within 27-21 at the 8:17 mark. However, Tulane answered by scoring eight of the next 10 points, re-establishing the double-digit margin.
East Carolina kept itself in the contest as the game drew near halftime, out-scoring the Green Wave 9-3 over the final 5:12 to trail 38-32 at the break.
Gay knocked down a trio of three-point field goals and shot 6-for-7 from the field in the first 20 minutes to account for a game-high 16 points while Allison Spivey pulled down a team-best six rebounds.
Tulane shot a scorching 56 percent and limited ECU to 42 percent. The Green Wave also owned the advantage on the glass 17-14 and in assists 12-6.
The teams combined for 17 points in the first four minutes of the second period, with Tulane scoring 10 of them to take a 48-39 lead at the 15:58 mark. The margin would stay the same with the clock showing 11:36 as both squads scored 11 points.
East Carolina rallied once more, cutting the deficit to seven with a Crystal Wilson fast-break layup to make the score 59-52 with 11:27 remaining. Gay hit her fifth three-pointer at the 5:52 mark to make it an eight-point game, but that was as close as the Pirates would be the rest of the way.
The announcement of the 2011 WNIT field is scheduled for Monday night.