March 22, 2013
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -Celeste Stewart poured in 25 points and Britny Edwards notched a double-double, but the Pirates were outscored 15-4 in overtime as Western Kentucky defeated East Carolina, 88-77, in the first round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
With the loss ECU concludes the season with an overall record of 22-10, while Western Kentucky improves to 22-10 and will take on Auburn in the second round. Stewart's 25 points were just one shy of her career-high and the senior point guard added a game-high seven assists to go along with two rebounds and a pair of steals. Britny Edwards notched her 10th double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds. She also contributed one assist, one block and one steal. Kristine Mial started her first game of the season and finished with 11 points, six boards, one assist and one steal. Kyani White and Colleen Marshall each added eight points each, while White collected five rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals and Marshall added four boards, two assists and one steal.
Western Kentucky jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, but the Pirates managed to tie the game at 16 with 12:47 remaining in the half after going on a 7-0 run. From that point on, the game was back and forth as the first half saw six lead changes and three ties. With the Hilltoppers leading 32-29 with one minute remaining, Stewart hit a trey with 11 seconds on the clock to send the game into halftime knotted at 32-all.
The Pirates opened the second half on a 10-0 run and the ECU defense did not allow the Lady Toppers to notch a field goal until 15:44 when Micah Jones connected for a jumper to make the score 44-37 in favor of East Carolina. The Pirates held the edge on the Hilltopers for most of the frame, but the hosts continued to chip away and eventually whittled the Pirates' lead to one (54-53) at 10:08. However, ECU pushed its lead back up to eight (66-58) with 7:34 remaining on a three-pointer from Mial. Western Kentucky surged back again and tied the game at 73-73 on a three-pointer from Alexis Govan with just 12 seconds left in regulation. ECU was unable to convert a three-point field goal and the clock expired forcing an overtime frame.
Although ECU scored first in overtime, the Hilltoppers were quick to turn the tables on the Pirates as they out-shot ECU 66.7 percent to 16.7-percent. Western Kentucky notched 15 points to the Pirates' four in the frame to win by a score of 88-77 in overtime.
ECU shot 40.7-percent in the contest, while WKU posted a 42.9 shooting percentage. The Hilltoppers held the edge on rebounds, 46-44.
The Lady Toppers were led by Chastity Gooch who recorded 26 points and 12 rebounds to go along with two steals, one assist and one block. Govan tallied 25 points with 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal. Bianca McGee was the third Hilltopper to notch double-figures as she added 15 points, seven assists, four boards, one block and one steal.