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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team completed a weekend sweep of Conference USA's two top teams Sunday afternoon, edging UCF in overtime in front of a season-high crowd of 3,112 inside Minges Coliseum in the program’s WBCA “Pink Zone” contest. The Lady Pirates rise to 15-10 overall and even their conference ledger at 6-6 while the Knights drop to 11-14 on the season and 9-3 in C-USA play.
The crowd represents the sixth-largest in program history and it saw ECU improve to 11-1 inside Minges this season, the third-most home wins in a single season for the program. With the victory, Sharon Baldwin-Tener notched her 100th triumph as East Carolina head coach, becoming the third 100-game winner in school history.
The teams provided a quick pace to begin the game, as the score stood at 8-8 at the first media timeout (13:40). After ECU took a 15-10 lead, UCF answered with five-straight to knot the score as the clock ticked under 12 minutes. The scoring slowed down from there, as the Knights scored four of the next six points to assume a 19-17 advantage at the 7:09 mark. Nearing halftime, the Lady Pirates cut the deficit to one at 22-21, then out-scored UCF 4-3 in the last four minutes to take a 25-24 lead into the break.
Allison Spivey led the way for East Carolina, hitting on two treys to end up with six points in the stanza while Jean Best pulled down a team-high five boards. Emma Cannon and Amber Kirkpatrick paced the Knight with six points each while Cannon also corralled six rebounds. As a team, the Lady Pirates out-shot the visitors .357-.243 while also enjoying a 27-23 margin on the glass. However, UCF took advantage of 12 ECU turnovers, converting them into 13 points.
East Carolina established a small amount of breathing room at the start of the second half, scoring nine of the first 14 points to take a 34-29 lead at the 15:53 mark. The Lady Pirates would go up as much as nine, but the Knights quickly cut the lead down to five. However, a pair of forced turnovers and two layups by Crystal Wilson and Best made the score 50-41, forcing UCF to call a timeout with 11:10 remaining in the contest.
Best then converted on a three-point play at the 10:48 mark to put ECU up by 10, but the Knights quickly responed, scoring six unanswered points to pull within four. UCF would complete the comeback, using a three-pointer by Jelisa Caldwell to even the score at 59-59 with 6:15 left in the game. The teams traded the lead five times in the last six minutes, as the Knights took a 69-67 lead on a three-pointer by Chelsie Wiley with 48 seconds left. However, just seven ticks later, Terry connected on a trey of her own, giving her team a 70-69 advantage.
Two UCF fouls gave Spivey the chance to put the Lady Pirates up by three with 14 seconds left, but the sophomore only converted one, giving the Knights possession with a chance to win the contest in their final possession. However, Kirkpatrick saw a free throw attempt drop off of the rim as Spivey grabbed the rebound but was called for traveling. UCF would not waste its second opportunity, as Angelica Mealing found Cannon all alone under the basket for the game-tying layup. Terry had a chance to end the game for ECU, but her shot was just off the mark, sending the contest to overtime.
Cannon gave the Knights a three-point lead to begin the extra session, as she converted a three-point play. However, the Lady Pirates answered with four-straight points, taking their first lead at 75-74. UCF edged ahead by three when D'Nay Daniels hit a layup at the 2:32 mark, but Jasmine Young nailed a trey from the left side to even the score with 1:44 remaining in the overtime. The Knights had three chances to take the lead with under a minute left but two missed jumpers and a block by Best forced Mealing to commit her fifth foul, sending Terry to the line. She would sink both shots but fouled Wiley from beyond the arc, giving the Knights three charity tosses. All three were true as East Carolina received the ball with 23 seconds on the clock. Terry made up for the prior foul, hitting the eventual game-winner from the left wing. UCF had one final shot, but Aisha Patrick was blocked by Kim Gay, who hit two free throws with .7 seconds remaining to provide the final margin.
Terry produced her second-highest out-put of the season, netting 28 points while hitting on all eight of her free throw attempts. Best, who notched her second double-double, matched her career high in points with 19 while also corralling a team-high and career-best 13 rebounds. Additionally, Wilson matched her season-best point total with 10. Young also distributed the ball well, dishing out eight assists. Wiley paced the Knights with 18 while Cannon and Kirkpatrick contributed 18 and 12 points, respectively.
As a team, the Lady Pirates out-shot UCF .446-.383 but were out-rebounded 51-44 while also turning the ball over four more times (22-18). However, ECU collected 38 points in the paint and 18 fast break points to help its cause.
The Lady Pirates now embark on their final C-USA road trip of the season, facing Memphis on Friday before traveling to UAB on Sunday. The contest against the Tigers is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET inside the Elma Roane Field House.