GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina limited Virginia Intermont to seven points in the second half on its way to an 82-33 victory Thursday night at Minges Coliseum. With the win, the Pirates improve to 2-1 while the Cobras fall to 4-3.
Junior Shala Hodges netted a career-best 28 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field, including a personal-high tying five three-point field goals. The Raleigh, N.C., native also recorded five rebounds, five steals and three assists in 24 minutes of playing time.
Two other Pirates reached double figures in the scoring column, as freshman Dana Jones exploded for 19 points and senior Chareya Smith dropped in 10. Other standout performances included junior Celeste Stewart's six assists and four steals and a six-rebound, four-steal and two-block effort by classmate Britny Edwards. Additionally, Hodges and Jones both knocked down seven of their 10 attempts from the free throw line.
Virginia Intermont converted just three field goals in the second half on 13 attempts (13.0 percent) while missing on all four of its tries from beyond the arc. For the contest, East Carolina shot 46 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc and a season-high 62 percent from the free-throw line.
For the second-straight outing, the Pirates played relentless defense and posted 29 steals while forcing 48 Cobra turnovers. ECU turned those miscues into 54 points while also enjoying a 24-2 advantage on the fast break. Intermont did have the upper hand on the glass, pulling down 41 boards as compared to 39 for the home team.
After Hodges knocked down one of her threes to open the scoring, Virginia Intermont netted eight of the next 11 points to establish an 8-6 lead with just over four minutes gone. The Pirates turned up the defense from there, recording a few layups in transition and receiving a pair of three-point field goals from Dana Jones to move in front 20-11 at the 11:51 mark.
Jones knocked down a free throw with 9:55 remaining in the first-half clock to cap a 22-0 run, making the score 28-11 before the Cobras responded with a 13-3 stretch of their own to cut their deficit to single digits as the clock wore down to halftime. ECU was able to record three steals in the final 3:30 in order to stretch the lead back to 19 at 45-26.
East Carolina shot exactly 50 percent in the first 20 minutes, knocking down 14 shots, and also out-rebounded Intermont 19-17. The teams combined to shoot 16-for-22 from the foul line, however, the Pirates converted 12 of those attempts. Hodges and Jones both reached double digits in the first period, netting 16 and 10 points respectively.
Head Coach Heather Macy urged her team to communicate better on defense coming out of the locker room and it paid dividends as ECU held Intermont to just two points for the first seven minutes while extending its cushion to 37.
After Ashley Bryant put in a layup to make the score 65-30 with 12:41 showing on the clock, the Cobras did not score again until just under three minutes left in the game when Kendra Haskins knocked down a free throw. Meanwhile, East Carolina netted 17 points and took its largest lead of the contest at 82-30. Intermont tallied the last three points of the game to account for the final score.
The Pirates take a short break from their home schedule Sunday, traveling to Wilmington for a matchup with in-state and former Colonial Athletic Association rival UNCW. Tipoff at Trask Coliseum is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.