Pirates Down Hawai'i In Hilo, 71-63

HILO, Hawai'i - East Carolina improved its road record to 3-1 Tuesday, defeating the University of Hawai'i 71-63 at the Hilo Civic Center in the final contest of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Shootout. The Pirates move to 5-6 overall while the Rainbow Wahine dip to 4-6.

East Carolina shot 50-percent in the second half to end up with a 43.1 mark for the game. Additionally, the Pirates knocked down 11 three-point field goals while hitting 16 of 22 free throws. ECU won the battle on the glass, pulling down 46 rebounds to 35 for Hawai'i.

Kelly Smith and Jean Best scored in double figures for the second-straight contest, putting in 18 and 11 points, respectively. Smith also tossed in four three-pointers to end the tournament with seven. Allison Spivey, Shala Hodges and Crystal Wilson complemented that performance with a pair of triples each. Smith produced solid shooting across the board, going 5-for-10 from the field, 4-for-7 from beyond the arc and 4-for-4 from the line.

Hawai'i established a 9-6 lead over the first four minutes before a Jean Best jumper in the paint pulled ECU to within 14-13 at the 11:46 mark. A slow pace to the game ensued from there, as the Pirates crept ahead by two on a three-point play by Kim Gay. A trey by Ariana Jackson put East Carolina in front 32-29 with just seconds left in the period, but Megan Tinnin responded with a triple of her own to leave the score deadlocked at the break.

Kelly Smith led the way for the Pirates with eight points in the first 20 minutes while Best and Shala Hodges pulled down four rebounds each. As a team, ECU shot 37.9 from the field, connecting on 11 of 29 attempts, including 6-for-16 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Wahine were 10-of-28 for a 35.7-percent mark, as well as holding a 19-5 advantage in free throw attempts. The Pirates were whistled for 16 fouls to just nine for the home team, which led to the disparity from the stripe.

A quick 10-4 run out of the half gave East Carolina its largest lead of the contest as Smith buried a three-pointer at the top of the key. Then, Shala Hodges knocked down a triple to make the score 55-45 at the 9:40 mark.

After Hawai'i cut the lead to six with 7:19 remaining in the contest, Smith came through again with another three, capping a 7-2 run that gave ECU an 11-point cushion. The Rainbow Wahine rallied one more time, pulling to within five with 87 seconds left, but would come no further as the Pirates sealed the game at the line.

For their efforts during the event, Smith and Best were named to the Rainbow Wahine Shootout All-Tournament Team.

East Carolina returns to action December 29, traveling to Ames, Iowa for the Cyclone Challenge. The Pirates will take on Prairie View A&M in a contest scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

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