NEW ORLEANS, La. - The eighth-seeded East Carolina women's basketball team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2009 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship with a 73-59 triumph over No. 9 seed UAB on Thursday afternoon inside Fogelman Arena. The Lady Pirates improve to 18-12 on the season while the Blazers end their campaign at 10-20.
East Carolina defeated UAB for the third time this season while recording its largest-ever margin of victory in C-USA tournament play. Senior Jasmine Young nearly completed her first career triple double, netting 13 points while adding eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
"I was really pleased with our play today, especially rebounding the basketball," head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener said. "Both Jasmine and LaCoya both showed great senior leadership and led our team with eight rebounds each. Tomorrow, we need to do a better job of taking care of the ball and helping on defense."
The Lady Pirates jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead at the 17:16 mark, thanks to five points by Terry. However, the Blazers cut into the lead, eventually, tying the contest at 11 on two Britney Jones free throws with 13:24 remaining in the half. ECU would then go on a 11-4 run over the next four minutes, assuming a 22-15 lead at the 9:50 mark. Maintaining that lead the rest of the period, the Lady Pirates would enter the break with an eight-point advantage at 39-31 as Jean Best hit two free throws with 28 seconds remaining.
Terry led all scorers at the half with 15 while Jones dropped in 14 for her club. East Carolina was aided by an 18-12 advantage in the paint while also out-scoring UAB 10-0 in fast-break points. The Lady Pirates also helped themselves from the field, firing at a 54 percent clip.
Three minutes into the second half, ECU established a 43-31 advantage as Kim Gay nailed a mid-range jumper to open the stanza and hit a free throw at the 16:51 mark. The lead would stretch to 48-34 on a layup by Ashley Clarke with 13:53 remaining in the contest, but the Blazers cut their deficit to nine on a jumper by Shelly Breaux, making the score 49-40 at the second media timeout (11:35). However, the Lady Pirates had the answer, pushing their advantage out to as much as 21 points before taking the 14-point win.
In addition to Young's 13 points, Terry scored a team-high 22 while Gay added 13. Terry and Young also shared the lead on the glass, each pulling down eight boards. East Carolina held the decided advantage from the field and in rebounding, enjoying a .540-.361 field goal percentage margin while out-rebounding UAB 44-25.
East Carolina will face No. 1 seed and regular season champion SMU in tomorrow's first quarterfinal contest, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET inside Fogelman Arena. The Mustangs took the only meeting between the teams, 80-73, earlier this season in Dallas, Texas.=