MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The East Carolina women's basketball team received a stellar performance from junior Kim Gay Saturday, edging Memphis in overtime 77-76 Saturday at the FedExForum. The Lady Pirates snapped a three-game skid and won for the second time on the road in conference play. East Carolina is now 19-9 overall and 8-7 in conference play while the Tigers drop to 17-11 overall and 10-5 in the league.
Gay put in a career-best 26 points while also grabbing a personal-high 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
Gay scored six points in the first four minutes to give ECU a 10-4 lead at the 15:55 mark. Shuanda Ashford kept the lead at six, putting back an Ashley Clarke miss to make the score 18-12 with 11:26 left in the half. Memphis responded, as Alex Winchell came to life and hit three-straight triples as part of a 13-4 run that put the home team ahead 25-22 at the 7:44 mark. However, Chareya Smith converted a layup as the clock ticked towards four minutes to tie the game at 27. Four points from freshman Shala Hodges allowed the Lady Pirates to assume a 33-32 lead at the break.
Gay notched 13 points in the half on 6-for-7 shooting to lead all scorers while Allison Spivey pulled down a team-best four rebounds for East Carolina.
The Lady Pirates regained their shooting touch that had seemed to dissapear the past few games, converting 15 of their 29 field goal attempts to record a 51.7 percentage in the first 20 minutes. The Tigers shot decently as well, producing 43.8 efficiency. The rebounding battle was even at 17 as well as the assist column at eight apiece. ECU also plucked six steals in the period.
Memphis became the more physical team, staking out to a 42-41 lead at the 15:10 mark. However, the game balanced at 48 points each when Jean Best put in a layup with under 12 minutes to go.
The Tigers began to push ahead from there, taking a six-point lead at the 7:55 mark. Jean Best then came to life, scoring seven points as part of a 16-9 run that made the score 65-64 in favor of the Lady Pirates with 2:40 left in the contest. ECU had the last possession but Clarke just dribbled around the perimeter and could not create anything as the clock ran out.
A Savannah Ellis free throw put Memphis ahead in the overtime session 72-71, but Gay drained her third triple of the game to make the score 74-72 with just over a minute left. Brittany Carter hit a jumper from the key to give the home team the lead 76-74 with 15 seconds left, but Gay had the answer one last time, nailing a deep NBA-range three to win the contest with three ticks on the clock. Carter would not get a shot up on the last possession.
Best netted 13 points and 11 in the second period while Spivey pulled down a team second-best seven rebounds. Clarke also distributed a career-high matching 11 assists.
The Lady Pirates outshot the Tigers 45.5-43.7 while the rebounding battle ended up tied at 43. East Carolina also recorded 19 assists to 10 for Memphis.
ECU closes the regular season this coming Wednesday, March 3, when it travels to Huntington, W.Va. for a showdown with Marshall at 7 p.m.. The Lady Pirates topped the Herd 78-54 earlier this season in Greenville.