MIAMI, Fla. – The last three minutes of the first half proved to be just what the East Carolina women’s basketball team needed to take a 66-47 win over Florida International Tuesday evening inside the US Century Bank Arena in Miami, Fla. The Lady Pirates improve to 9-4 on the season while the Golden Panthers fall to 3-10.
The nine non-conference wins match the third-most in program history while the 9-4 non-Conference USA record also ties the best under head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener’s six-year tenure with the team (2005-06).
FIU grabbed a 4-1 lead at the 18:33 mark but ECU would rally to tie the contest at eight with 16:03 remaining when senior Jasmine Young delivered a layup. The Lady Pirates took their first lead of the game at 11:22 as she hit two free throws. However, the Golden Panthers would retake the advantage and hold it until 3:15 remained in the half. After sophomore Shuanda Ashford hit a mid-range jumper, freshman Ashley Clarke pick-pocketed Monika Bosilj and took it in for an easy layup to make the score 20-19 in favor of East Carolina. Then, sophomore Allison Spivey drilled a trey and was fouled with 2:40 left in the stanza, sending her to the line. However, she would miss the ensuing free toss.
The Lady Pirates would continue on the offensive, getting a layup by sophomore Kim Gay to establish a six-point advantage. From there, senior LaCoya Terry took over the floor, scoring nine-straight to end the half, including a deep three-pointer with just 1.4 seconds left to give her team a 34-19 lead going into the break. In all, ECU used an 18-0 run in the last 5:41 to expand its advantage.
Terry’s offensive outburst allowed her to lead all scorers at the half with 12 points and pushed the Lady Pirates’ shooting percentage to a sizzling 51.9 percent. FIU did however, out-rebound East Carolina 17-12 in the period but committed 19 turnovers as the Lady Pirates recorded 11 steals.
ECU stretched its advantage to 37-19, scoring the first three points of the half before Elisa Carey hit a jumper to make the score 37-21 with 17:56 remaining in the game. After the Golden Panthers pulled within 39-24, the Lady Pirates went on an 18-3 run, putting the contest out of reach. FIU would hit three-straight three-pointers to close the margin to 61-45, but it came too late as the Lady Pirates cruised to the victory.
Terry turned in her fifth 20-point effort of the season and had scored in double digits in 11 of 13 games this season. Gay joined her teammate, scoring 10 points and pulling down a team-high four rebounds. Additionally, Clarke ended the contest dishing out five assists.
East Carolina shot well in the second half, ending the game with a percentage of 42.9 as compared to a 30.2 mark for the Golden Panthers. FIU had the better of the rebounding, however, enjoying a 36-30 margin. Additionally, the Lady Pirates forced 31 turnovers with 15 steals, the second-most turnovers by an opponent this season (NC Central, 33).
Having completed its non-conference schedule, ECU jumps into Conference USA play with a home contest against Marshall on Saturday, Jan. 3. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Minges Coliseum.