HOUSTON, Texas - The East Carolina women's basketball team held Houston to just one field goal in overtime, taking a 94-87 win Friday night at Hofheniz Pavilion. The Lady Pirates are now 15-2 overall, stretching the second-best start in program history, as well as 4-0 in C-USA play and 4-1 on the road this season. The victory marked the
first over Houston in nine tries.
The 94 points scored were the third-most ever in a C-USA game for ECU and the Lady Pirates have won their first four league affairs for the second time since joining the Dallas-based league prior to the 2001-02 season. East Carolina has now won five-straight and eight of nine.
Allison Spivey and Ashley Clarke posted 20-point efforts with 23 and 20, the first time since the duo scored 25 and 22 against Charlotte in the season opener. Additionally, Kelly Smith and Spivey combined for an 8-for-8 showing from beyond the arc. Smith and Jean Best also scored in double figures, as the former notched 16 while the latter picked up a season-high 15. Crystal Wilson served as the top rebounder, collecting seven boards. Spivey and Clarke recorded four assists each.
The Lady Pirates shot 57 percent in the game, marking the eighth time they have reached the 50-percent plateau this year. However, the Cougars held the edge on the boards only slightly, 45-44. The visitors also picked up the advantage in assists (18-11) and from the three-point line (.700-.214). It was the highest percentage from beyond the arc in 2009-10 for East Carolina.
ECU pushed out to a 10-4 lead at the 15:57 mark, thanks to five points from Jean Best. Houston pulled back to within four over the next five minutes, recieving points from five different players.
The tide began to turn in East Carolina's favor, as the Lady Pirates put together a 10-2 run to lead 28-16 at the 10:12 mark. Allison Spivey continued her hot start to the contest, draining a jumper to keep the advantage at 33-21 as the clock ticked under eight minutes.
The Cougars did not back off, slicing the deficit down to six with two minutes left in the half, but ECU outscored Houston 7-4 to take a 51-40 lead into the break. The 51 points marks the most scored in a half this season for the Lady Pirates, but also the most allowed.
Spivey and Kelly Smith combined to go 5-for-5 from beyond the arc as they scored 13 and 10, respectively. Ashley Clarke and Best both contributed nine. Kim Gay served as the top rebounder, pulling down four boards. Additionally, four players recorded two assists.
East Carolina shot the ball very well, as they have all season, converting 19 of 31 attempts to produce a .613 efficiency while holding Houston .357. The Lady Pirates also had the slight advantage on the boards (20-16) while notching 11 assists to three for the Cougars. Additionally, 19 of the Cougars' points came at the line, where they held a 23-11 lead in attempts.
ECU picked up four quick fouls in the first four minutes as Houston came within nine at the 15:47 mark of the second half. The Cougars stayed within reach, as an offensive putback by Lesslee Mason made the score 62-59, but Crystal Wilson hit a layup with 11:40 remaining to push the margin back to five.
With the fouls mounting for the Lady Pirates, they found a way to keep in front by six with 7:51 left in the contest when Spivey nailed her fifth trey of the game. Houston, tried to rally, cutting an 11-point East Carolina lead to five at the 3:13 mark.
The Cougars eventually tied things at 81 with 52 seconds left, but the Lady Pirates had one last try to win the game before it went to overtime. However, Clarke's runner in the lane bounced off the backboard then the front of the rim before falling off.
ECU took charge at the beginning of overtime, outscoring Houston 9-1 to take a 90-82 lead at the 2:17 mark. The Lady Pirates would keep the Cougars at bay, forcing misses and getting critical rebounds to close out the road victory.
East Carolina travels five miles across town for its next contest, taking on Rice Sunday at 3 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.