GREENVILLE, N.C. – A 19-5 Tulane run in the first 10 minutes of the second half proved the difference Thursday night as the Green Wave posted a 63-49 victory over East Carolina at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates are now 6-15 overall and 0-8 in Conference USA games while the Green Wave improve to 16-5 and 5-3.
Sophomore Kristine Mial finished with 15 points and nine rebounds while Chareya Smith added 10 points for ECU. Britny Edwards posted nine rebounds and two steals as Mial recorded five steals to go along with her offensive output. Junior Shala Hodges returned to the lineup for the first time in eight games, playing nine minutes.
The Pirates took 59 shots, five more than Tulane, but hit just 17 for a 29-percent effort from the field. The Green Wave drained 21 buckets on 54 attempts for 39 percent. East Carolina came out on top in the rebounding battle, 44-38, and picked up 17 offensive boards as compared to 11 for Tulane. The Pirates turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 21 points for the Green Wave, and the Tulane bench chipped in 30 points – 20 by freshman Jamie Kaplan.
ECU hit just one of its first 11 shots, missing some close shots near the basket and allowing the Green Wave to move in front by a 9-4 count with 4:42 elapsed off the clock. A Mial three-point field goal brought the Pirates within two before Tiffany Dale dropped in a layup to stretch the Tulane cushion back to four at the 11:53 mark.
Tatiana Chapple picked up her third foul of the contest with 9:19 remaining in the half, as Olivia Grayson completed a three-point play to make the score 16-10. After Mial drained another shot from long range, East Carolina scored just two points over the next five minutes. Meanwhile, the Green Wave built a 13-point advantage and would lead by 11heading to the half as Bryelle Smith just missed a triple at the buzzer.
Mial paced ECU with 10 points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Kaplan netted 12 for the visitors. The Pirates shot just 24 percent from the field but did out-rebound Tulane 26-24 and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds while they converted into 12 points. East Carolina did not help its cause by turning the ball over nine times, which afforded the Green Wave 10 points off those miscues.
The Pirates’ offensive struggles continued into the second stanza, while Tulane exerted itself defensively and grew its advantage to 47-26 - completing a 14-4 run to open the period. Dana Jones would cut the deficit back under 20 with two free throws, but an off-balance three by Kaplan with 7:42 left in the contest made the score 56-32.
ECU scored nine-straight points to slice the deficit to 15 with five minutes remaining, but a Kaplan trey stopped the run and gave her team an 18-point cushion. The Pirates weren’t done, however, responding again with an 8-2 run which was capped by a Mial three-pointer and made the score 61-49. That was as close as East Carolina would come though, as the Green Wave scored the final two points of the night.
The Pirates begin the second half of their league slate Sunday, Feb. 5, with a game at Southern Miss. Tipoff at Reed Green Coliseum is scheduled for 3 p.m.