NEW ORLEANS, La. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team led at halftime, but fell for the first time this season when holding such an advantage as Tulane rallied for a 71-61 Conference USA victory Thursday at Fogelman Arena. The Pirates lost their fourth-straight, dipping to 6-10 overall and 0-3 in league play while the Green Wave are now 14-2 and 3-0.
The home team played a strong second half, scoring 48 points while holding East Carolina to 32.
Senior Kim Gay posted her second double-double of the season, netting a team-best 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds which matched her career high. Jean Best also scored in double figures with 15.
The Pirates hit just 10 field goals in the second half to finish with a 36-percent performance, but were stellar at the line, hitting 16 of 17 attempts to finish at 94 percent. Tulane was slightly better from the field, draining 23 of their 60 tries (36 percent). East Carolina won the rebounding battle overall, 43-34, but was done in by 28 turnovers which translated into 30 points for the Green Wave.
After Danielle Nunn put Tulane up by four, ECU responded with buckets from Kim Gay and Celeste Stewart to tie the score. After Gay put the Pirates ahead by two with a three at the 10:06 mark, Nunn dropped in a layup to make the score 17-17 with exactly seven minutes remaining in the period.
The teams struggled from the floor over the next three minutes but, with the game knotted at 21, East Carolina put together an 8-2 run to establish a six-point cushion heading into the break. It was the first time since a 68-55 win over Prairie View A&M Dec. 29 that the Pirates took the halftime lead.
The Pirates finished the first 20 minutes hitting 10 of their 22 shots (46 percent) while holding the Green Wave to 32 percent on 11-for-34 shooting. ECU also held the upper hand on the glass, out-rebounding Tulane 22-15. The Pirates were plagued, however, by 14 turnovers while the Green Wave committed only seven. Gay netted 11 in the period while also pulling down a team-best five rebounds.
Tyria Snow drained a three to pull Tulane within 37-34 four minutes into the period, then, Roshaunda Barnes did the same, tying things at 37. The Green Wave out-toughed ECU down low from there, using offensive rebounding and timely three-point shooting to race out to a 48-41 advantage at the 11:22 mark.
After Tulane stretched the lead to 13, Jean Best converted a three-point play to make the score 61-55 with four minutes left. That was as close as the Pirates would come, as the Green Wave hit free throws down the stretch to account for the final 10-point margin.
East Carolina returns home Sunday, taking on Rice. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Minges Coliseum.