Pirates Shut Down Prairie View, 68-55
Dec. 29, 2010
AMES, Iowa - Junior Chareya Smith scored a career-best 16 points Wednesday as East Carolina defeated Prairie View 68-55 in the first contest of the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge at Hilton Coliseum. The Pirates are now an even 6-6 overall while the Panthers fall to 4-6.
Defense was the story of the day as East Carolina held its foe to just 55 points, which was good for 18 under the Pirates' average allowed entering the contest.
Smith was one of three players in double figures for ECU as Ashley Clarke netted 16 and Kelly Smith put in 15, her third-straight double-figure scoring effort. Kelly Smith also fell just short of a double-double, pulling down a team second-best nine rebounds. Senior Kim Gay also set a personal best in the contest, grabbing 15 rebounds - including five on the offensive end. Clarke complemented her scoring output with five steals and four assists while Jean Best tied her career standard with five blocks.
The Pirates put up their largest positive rebounding margin of the season, recording 52 as compared to 33 for the Panthers. East Carolina also pocketed 16 steals to overcome 28 turnovers. Prairie View nearly matched ECU in that category as the Panthers coughed up the ball 27 times themselves. The Pirates also received 39 points from their bench players.
Both teams struggled from the field to begin the contest, combining to go 6-for-29 as ECU grabbed an 11-8 lead at the 11:08 mark. Then, fueled by defense, the Pirates put together an 18-6 run that made the score 29-14 with 4:23 remaining in the period. Four different East Carolina players netted points during the spurt, led by six from Ashley Clarke.
Prairie View A&M answered back with a 9-2 stretch of its own, cutting the Pirate lead back to eight. However, ECU scored four of the last six points of the half to take a 35-25 advantage into the break.
Kelly Smith put in 13 points to lead all scorers in the first 20 minutes, with a pair of triples included in the total. Additionally, Gay pulled down seven boards while Ashley Clarke grabbed three steals. East Carolina struggled from the field, hitting just 10-of-29 overall and 2-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Pirates did help themselves at the line, however, draining 13 of their 15 attempts. The Panthers suffered from poor shooting as well, going 10-for-34 for a 29-percent performance.
After Gay scored the first points of the second period, Prairie View A&M mounted a rally, cutting its deficit to just three at 43-40 with 12 minutes remaining. However, ECU held the Panthers scoreless over the next three minutes while building the lead back to 11 on a Chareya Smith jumper in the paint at the 9:56 mark.
The run continued for the next five minutes, as another Chareya Smith bucket gave the Pirates their largest lead of the contest at 60-43. With just over four minutes remaining at that point, Prairie View A&M would not threaten again.
East Carolina ends non-conference play tomorrow, closing out its time at the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge with a contest against Florida A&M. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.