ECU Wins USF Shootout, 63-60
Dec. 20, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. - The East Carolina women's basketball team picked up a huge road win Sunday, defeating 2009 WNIT champion South Florida in the championship game of the USF Shootout at the Sun Dome. The Lady Pirates are now 10-1 for the third time in program history and are the first Conference USA team to hit 10 wins this year. The Bulls fall to 8-4 with the loss.
USF jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but ECU rallied to pull within 6-4 at the 15:54 mark. The Lady Pirates then went on a 9-6 run to take the lead at 13-10, but Allyson Speed hit a runner in the lane to make the score 13-12 in favor of the visitors with 11:46 remaining in the half.
Janae Stokes then grew confident from beyond the arc, draining two consecutive three-pointers to give the Bulls an 18-17 lead at the 8:33 mark. Back and forth play highlighted the next six minutes, but Kelly Smith nailed a three from the top of the key that allowed East Carolina to enjoy a 33-29 advantage with 2:53 showing on the clock.
A Crystal Wilson jumper gave the Lady Pirates a 38-31 lead with just over a minute left in the half (1:17), but Stokes nailed her fourth trey of the game to make the score 38-34 at halftime.
The Lady Pirates shot well in the half, firing at a .560 clip while South Florida converted 44.4 percent. East Carolina had the edge on the glass, 17-9, but the Bulls committed eight turnovers while ECU rang up 11.
USF pushed out of the half, eventually tying the score at 40 at the first media timeout (15:56). The Bulls would then edge out in front 46-44, but an 8-3 run, capped off by two Wilson free throws put East Carolina back in front 52-49 with just 7:44 remaining.
However, the Bulls dug down and outscored the Lady Pirates 7-2 over the next four minutes to take a 56-54 lead. With time winding down, Clarke hit two free throws to put ECU ahead 61-60 with 57 seconds left. Chareya Smith and Kelly Smith came up big in the final ticks, picking up a charge and an offensive rebound, while Spivey hit two free throws to seal the win.
Wilson led the Lady Pirate scoring, picking up a career-high 14 points while also recording a team-high six rebounds and five assists. Clarke also netted six points.
ECU was outshot for the second time this year, as the Bulls converted 44.4 percent while the Lady Pirates shot at 40.8. However, East Carolina outrebounded the taller South Florida team 30-26.
For their efforts in the USF Shootout, Clarke, Jackson and Wilson were named to the All-Tournament Team while Clarke garnered MVP honors.
The Lady Pirates will now take the next week and change off for the Christmas break, returning to the court Dec. 28 against UMBC in the first game of the Fordham Holiday Classic. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.