CHARLESTON, S.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team improved to 12-1 on the year, marking their best non-conference start since the 1972-73 season, after defeating College of Charleston, 64-55, on Thursday night. East Carolina was led by redshirt sophomore Jada Payne’s third double-double of the season.
Payne finished the contest with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds while adding one assist. She was 8-for-12 from the field and a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Redshirt junior Abria Trice contributed 15 points, five boards and one steal, while redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw tallied a game-high five blocks, seven rebounds, three steals and three points for the Pirates.
East Carolina shot 45.7-percent from the field in the first half as the Pirates connected on 16-of-35 field goals. Payne led the offensive attack as she tallied 14 of her 26 points in the frame. As a team, ECU collected six blocks in the first 20 minutes of action, while forcing the Cougars (7-6) into 11 turnovers. Shaw contributed to four of the Pirates’ half dozen blocks in the half.
The ECU defense was on point as it did not allow CofC to connect on any three-point field goals in the frame and limited the Cougars to a 32.4-shooting percent in the first half.
Although College of Charleston took an early four-point lead (6-2) at 17:50, the Pirates were quick to erase the deficit as they went on an 8-2 run to take a 10-8 lead. East Carolina extended its lead to as many as 14 (30-16) at 8:46 in the first half, but the Cougars wouldn’t go quietly. CofC cut the Pirates’ lead down to six (34-28), before ECU pushed it back up to 12 (40-28) at halftime.
The Pirates continued their stout defense in the second half as they held the Cougars to just 22.9-percent shooting and still did not allow a three-point field goal as the Cougars finished the game 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. ECU controlled the game and led by as many as 23 points (61-38) with 7:29 remaining in the contest. College of Charleston slowly chipped away at ECU’s lead and managed to cut it down to nine as the clock expired. East Carolina won by a score of 64-55.
College of Charleston was led by Afreyea Tolbert who tallied 20 points, five rebounds and a game-high five steals. Mikeala Hopkins was the Cougars other double-figure scorer as she posted 12 points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds and a game-high four blocks.
East Carolina opens Conference USA action on Wednesday, January 8, when the Pirates host Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m.