Pirates Down IUPUI, 71-51

Jada Payne

Nov. 29, 2013

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GREENVILLE, N.C. –The East Carolina women’s basketball team shot 55.3-percent, while holding IUPUI to 33.9-percent shooting, en route to a 71-51 victory over the Jaguars on Friday night to open the Thanksgiving Tournament. With the win, the Pirates improved to 6-0 on the year, while IUPUI fell to 5-2.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne led all scorers with 18 points, while adding a team-best seven rebounds. Senior forward Kristine Mial (13 points) and Abria Trice (11 points) also scored in double-figures for ECU. Junior guard Janesha Ebron tallied a career-high nine assists to go along with seven points and five rebounds.

The Pirates shot an impressive 59.1-percent in the first half as they connected on 13-of-22 field goals. After a few early buckets by both teams, Mial drained a three to put ECU up 5-4 at 17:49. Her trey sparked a 9-0 run for the Pirates as ECU led 11-4.

East Carolina held IUPUI scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the frame. The Jaguars’ Nicole Rogers broke the scoring drought with a three-pointer at 10:51 to bring the Jaguars within five (13-8). However, ECU would counter with a trey from Payne to extend their lead to eight (16-8). The Pirates pushed their lead to double digits (22-10) on back-to-back layups from Akia Jones and Carly Vendemia, but a 6-0 IUPUI run highlighted by consecutive buckets from Dee-Dee Bellamy and Nevena Markovic pulled the Jaguars within six (22-16). The Pirates pushed their lead to nine with 2:31 remaining in the half after Ebron sunk the backend of a pair of free throws. The Jaguars continued to chip away at ECU, but the Pirates held on to their lead and took a seven-point (30-23) advantage into the locker room at halftime.

ECU started the second half with two made free throws from Trice, but IUPUI followed with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 32-all. East Carolina countered with a 9-0 run of its own as the Pirates went up 41-32 prompting the Jaguars to call for a time out at 15:03. Following the break in action, the Pirates broke the game open as they knocked down nine unanswered points highlighted by a three from Payne to put ECU up by 19 (59-40). From that point on, the Pirates never looked back as they surged ahead and shot 52-percent in the frame, while limiting the Jaguars to 37.9-percent shooting. ECU led by as many as 21 points (71-50) after Vendemia sunk a pair of free throws. East Carolina went on to win the game by a score of 71-51.

In the game, the Pirates only allowed the Jaguars to connect on one three-point field goal as IUPUI shot 7.1-percent (1-for-14) from beyond the arc. In addition to out-shooting the Jags, the Pirates also out-rebounded them (37-30) and held the edge in assists (14-11).

IUPUI was led offensively by Katie Comello’s 16 points as she was the only Jaguar to record double-figures. She also led the team with eight rebounds, but surrendered eight turnovers as well. Kelsi Byrd was the team-leader in assists with three, while Akilah Sims led both teams with a pair of steals.

The Pirates return to action on Sunday, December 1, when they host Cleveland State in the final game of the Thanksgiving Tournament. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m.