Slack Comes Off The Bench To Lead Pirates To 66-61 Victory
Dec. 7, 2005
GREENVILLE, N.C.--The East Carolina women's basketball team tied their best start in 18 years following a 66-61 victory over Virginia Commonwealth inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.
Behind double figure nights from Jessica Slack, who scored 17 points, and Cherie Mills, who added 20 points and 10 rebounds, the Lady Pirates moved to 6-1 on the season. The mark of the 1985-86 Lady Pirates of 5-1 was the last time that an ECU squad had a better beginning to the season. The win also puts the team on the threshold of the program's 500th victory, which is now just one game away.
Leading 33-24 at the intermission, ECU jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first two minutes into the second half of play. The Rams narrowed the gap to four, following a 7-0 run, which was capped off by a LaKea Jones three-pointer.
Over the next six minutes of a back-and-forth contest, ECU took an 56-45 advantage at the 7:58 mark, using solid inside play and connecting on four free-throw attempts to supply the offensive punch.
The Lady Pirates would maintain an eight point lead until consecutive three-pointers by Michele Cosel cut the lead to 62-60 with 0:48 remaining. As time ticked down, on both the shot and game clock, Jasmine Young drove the lane for a crucial layup which gave ECU a four-point lead. With two successful Cherie Mills free-throws the Lady Pirates captured the victory.
"I was pretty pleased with our defense," said head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "[VCU] is averaging around 70 points a game, and we were able to hold them below their average and force 26 turnovers along with 15 steals."
Both the Lady Pirates and the Rams got out to sluggish starts after the game's start was delayed 19 minutes due to an electrical malfunction following player introductions. Neither team scored until the 17:42 mark when Virginia Commonwealth's Michele Cosel hit a layup.
Slack came off the bench for the ECU to score 10 of the first 14 points, as the Lady Pirates lead 14-9 through the first eight minutes of the game. With a combination of both inside and perimeter shooting, ECU headed into the break on a 10-2 run, led by two three-point baskets by senior Ebonee Downey along with inside jumpers by Nicole Days and LaToya Horton.
ECU closed out the first half of action leading 33-24. Slack, who accounted for 13 of the Pirates 21 bench points in the first, led all scorers at the break.
ECU returns to action at Minges Coliseum on Sunday, Dec. 18th , when the Lady Pirates play host to James Madison. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
VCU vs. East Carolina
Lady Pirates Head Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener
On Jessica Slack: "She was out for awhile and missed some practices, but I think that she is getting more comfortable with what we are doing. She is a very good shooter and has a knack for getting her own rebounds."
On Cherie Mills: "She was able to get some big rebounds for us and also put the ball in the basket. She was really a big difference for us tonight."