ECU Falls To #9 UCLA

HILO, Hawai'i - East Carolina cut a 17-point halftime deficit down to six in the final minutes Monday night, but No. 9 UCLA scored nine late points at the free throw line in order to capture an 81-67 victory in the second contest of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Shootout. The Pirates fall to 4-6 overall while the Bruins remain unbeaten at 10-0.

ECU shot 51.9 percent in the second period to offset a poor first half, ending the game at 40.4 percent. The Pirates also out-scored UCLA 41-38 in the final 20 minutes. The Bruins held a 39-29 advantage on the glass, 20 of them by Markel Walker and Jasmine Dixon. Meanwhile, Kim Gay paced East Carolina with eight boards. Both teams were held well under their averages in steals, recording just 11 between them.

Seniors Kelly Smith and Allison Spivey combined for five three-point field goals as Spivey's pair put her into sole possesion of third-place on the program career ledger. Junior Jean Best and Spivey also scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

ECU jumped out to a 9-7 lead in the first five minutes on the strength of seven points by Kelly Smith. However, UCLA tied things at 14 with 11:59 remaining in the period with a Atonye Nyingifa layup. From there, the Bruins raced ahead to the break, out-scoring the Pirates 29-12 to establish a 17-point advantage.

UCLA dominated the glass in the first 20 minutes, owning a 26-13 margin and scoring eight second-chance points. All of the Bruin scores were inside the arc as UCLA misfired on both its three-point attempts. East Carolina shot poorly as well, making just seven of 25 shots for a 28-percent showing while the Bruins were 17-for-32 for a 53.1-percent performance. Smith led the offense in the half with seven points while Ariana Jackson pulled down a team-high four rebounds.

A three-point play by Jean Best cut the UCLA lead down to 15 early in the second half, but the Bruins turned up the defense and raced out to a 62-38 lead at the 11:59 mark. The Pirates slowly rallied back into the contest, going on a 21-6 run which was capped off by a Smith three-pointer, making the score 68-59 with just over four minutes to play.

ECU was not done, however, as a Best jumper made it a six-point contest at 70-64 with the clock ticking down to two minutes but UCLA would take advantage of free throws down the stretch - scoring nine of its final 11 points from the line to hold off the Pirates.

East Carolina closes out its time in the islands tomorrow, taking on the host Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine at 7 p.m. ET and 2 p.m. local time.

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