Second Half Surge Pushes ECU Past UNCW, 72-52
Nov. 19, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After getting off to a slow start offensively in the first half, the East Carolina women's basketball team used its fast break and shot 66 percent from the field in the second period to race past UNC Wilmington, 72-52, Thursday evening at Minges Coliseum. The Lady Pirates are now 3-0 for the second-consecutive season while the Seahawks dropped their first contest of the year and stand at 1-1.
Before last season, the last time the team began the year with three-straight wins was the 1998-99 campaign.
With the victory, head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener took over sole possession of second-place on the ECU coaching wins ledger as she now owns 106. The eighth-year leader now needs just five wins to surpass Catherine Bolton for first. Additionally, sophomore Chareya Smith set a career-high point total with 14 off of the bench.
"This was a great win for us," Baldwin-Tener stated. "We really put the heat on UNCW the whole 40 minutes and I was extremely pleased with our defense. Both teams struggled in the first half, but I was very happy to see that we did not sag off on the defensive end. Ashley [Clarke] and Chareya really stepped it up in the second half."
The teams started the game ice cold from the field, as UNCW managed a 4-3 lead at the 12 minute mark. Greta Luksyte then gave the visitors a 7-3 advantage with a three with 11:46 remaining in the half, prompting a 30-second timeout from the Lady Pirate sideline.
The scoring picked up a bit over the next four minutes, as the Seahawks out-scored ECU 7-5 to build their largest lead of the period at 14-8. However, the Lady Pirates produced a run of their own, eventually taking their first lead of the contest at the 3:15 mark on a Celeste Stewart turnaround jumper. Then, freshman Ariana Jackson threw a half-court pass off a missed UNCW field goal attempt, finding Crystal Wilson for the fastbreak layup and a 19-16 advantage.
East Carolina eventually found its offensive efficiency late in the half, making three of five field goals and hitting four free throws in the final three minutes to take a 25-20 lead into the break.
A trio of Lady Pirates scored five points in the half in Allison Spivey, Wilson and Shuanda Ashford while Kim Gay paced the team on the glass with five boards. Wilson also distributed three assists, one off of her career-high game total.
ECU's late flurry allowed it to reach the 30 percent mark from the field as it outshot UNCW 32.1-23.3. The Lady Pirates also exerted themselves on the boards, picking up 30 rebounds to the Seahawks' 20. East Carolina did, however, commit 13 turnovers in the half hindering its cause.
The Lady Pirate advantage grew to eight three minutes into the second period, as Spivey hit a three from the corner to make the score 32-24. Clarke then recorded consecutive fast-break layups to stretch the lead to 36-26 at the 15:20 mark.
With East Carolina leading 40-31 with 12:56 remaining in the game, UNCW went on a 6-2 run to cut the deficit to five at the 12:05 mark. The Lady Pirates began to get out on the break during the next four minutes, ripping off a 12-4 run to seize control of the contest, 54-41, with 8:20 left.
The Seahawks pulled to within 12, 58-46, on a Julia Finlay trey at the 5:50 mark, but that was as close as they would get. ECU kept the pressure on and outscored UNCW 14-6 to close out the win.
Clarke led all scorers in the contest, netting her third double-digit scoring effort of the season with 15 points. She also matched her personal standard in assists, dishing out eight in 33 minutes. Spivey reached double figures, picking up 11 on 5-for-8 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 efficiency from beyond the arc. Clarke and Smith also shot the ball well, as they combined to go 13-for-17.
On the glass, Gay corralled a team-best seven rebounds while Kelly Smith was not far behind with six.
Overall, East Carolina outshot UNCW 50.0-32.7. The Lady Pirates also dominated the glass, recording 46 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive end, and holding the Seahawks to 30.
ECU shared the ball well in the game, notching 20 assists. The last time the Lady Pirates reached that plateau was Feb. 15, 2009 when they defeated UCF 86-83 in overtime in Greenville.
After a three-contest homestand to start the season, East Carolina hits the road for the first time Sunday, Nov. 22, traveling to Washington, D.C., for a matchup against American University, a team that qualified for the WNIT in 2008-09. The tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Bender Arena.