GREENVILLE, N.C. - VCU received a 28-point performance from senior forward Courtney Hurt Wednesday as East Carolina dropped a 62-49 decision to the Rams at Minges Coliseum. Despite the loss, the Pirates (5-3) have won 12 of their last 13 home contests and 38 of the last 48.
Sophomore forward Kristine Mial led ECU offensively for the second-straight game, scoring 17 points while adding three assists, two blocks and two steals. She also knocked down a pair of three-point field goals. Leading scorer and junior Shala Hodges was 6-for-6 from the free throw line to end up with nine points. Freshman Tatiana Chapple pulled down seven rebounds to complement six from junior Britny Edwards.
VCU (5-3) drained nearly half of its attempts from the field, firing at a 48-percent clip (29-of-60). Meanwhile, East Carolina managed just 34 percent for the game, including a cold 29-percent showing in the second half. Led by Hurt's 12 rebounds, the Rams ended up with a 41-30 advantage and recorded 17 on the offensive glass. The Pirates also reached double figures with 12 offensive boards. Using its size advantage down low, VCU outscored ECU in paint 42-22.
East Carolina hit four early field goals to assume a 12-4 lead at the first official timeout. However, VCU responded with a 14-4 run over the next nine minutes to take its first advantage of the evening at 18-16.
After Robyn Parks stretched the Rams' lead to 27-20 with a fastbreak layup, Britny Edwards scored four of the next five points for ECU to pull the Pirates to 27-25 with 1:22 remaining in the half. VCU would net four of the final five to take a five-point cushion into the break.
The halftime deficit marked the first time since the season opener at College of Charleston that East Carolina did not enjoy the lead after 20 minutes.
The Rams knocked down 14 of their 30 attempts from the field to shoot 47 percent for the half while ECU converted 10 field goals on 26 tries for a 39-percent clip. VCU also held the upper hand on the boards by a 21-15 count and scored eight second chance points on nine offensive rebounds.
Mial nailed a jumper to open the second-half scoring, cutting the Pirates' deficit to three, but East Carolina would net just four points over the next eight minutes which allowed Hurt to go to work and extend the visitors' lead to double digits at 46-32.
ECU tried to rally once more, going on a 10-4 run to make the score 50-42 with 7:40 left in the contest, but the Rams stopped the momentum by netting the next six points. The Pirates did not have an answer down the stretch as VCU's inside play kept its double-digit advantage intact until the end.
East Carolina takes an 11-day break for exams before returning to action in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Beach Ball Classic. The Pirates face Jacksonville on Dec. 18 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in their first game of the event. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.