BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – East Carolina outscored UAB 15-5 in the overtime period as the Pirates claimed an 83-73 (OT) victory over the Blazers. ECU had four double-figure scorers as the Pirates improved to 20-3 overall and 8-2 in Conference USA action. UAB fell to 12-10 on the year and 4-5 in league play.
Shae Nelson led the Pirates’ offensive tear as she recorded a career-high 27 points in ECU’s win. Senior forward Kristine Mial tallied 17 points to go along with six rebounds, while Jada Payne collected 16 points, eight boards, two assists and one steal. Abria Trice rounded out the Pirates’ double-figure scorers with a 15-point effort, while adding a team-high nine rebounds and one assist. Junior guard Janesha Ebron dished out a game-high eight assists, while redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw added a game-best four blocks.
East Carolina opened the game on a 9-2 run and the Pirate defense was stout in the opening minutes holding the Blazers’ offense to just two points in the first five minutes of action. Nelson knocked down a trio of threes to help the Pirates extend their lead to 15 (23-8) with 11:47 on the clock. However, the UAB offense awoke and rattled off 11 straight points to battle back and eventually take a 30-29 lead over ECU with 3:52 remaining in the first half. The Pirates would not go quietly as East Carolina used a 7-0 run to take a six-point advantage (36-30). ECU went on to take a 38-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Pirates shot 41.2-percent from the field in the first half and connected on 6-of-9 three-point shots. Despite UAB’s offensive struggles at the start of the frame, the Blazers shot 40-percent in the opening 20 minutes after going 14-for-35 from the field.
The second half was a back and forth affair as the Pirates and the Blazers fought through three ties and seven lead changes. UAB used a 12-2 run to take an eight-point advantage (57-49) at 10:10. East Carolina battled back and turned the deficit into a 62-61 lead after Payne sunk a three at 5:45. The Pirates and Blazers used the final five minutes of action to trade points at almost every possession until the conference foes were deadlocked at 68-68 with 1:39 left to play after Tatiana Chapple tallied a layup for ECU. The final minute of action was a defensive effort as the two teams did not allow each other to score forcing the overtime period.
UAB opened up the overtime frame with a layup, but East Carolina countered with an 8-0 run to go up 76-70 with 2:24 left to play. Despite the Blazers efforts, the Pirates connected on 4-of-11 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws, while limiting UAB to just two field goals and one three-pointer in the frame as ECU went on to win its 20th game of the year, 83-73.
The Blazers had five double-figure scorers in the game and were led by Karisma Chapman’s game-high 28 point performance. Ashley Grimes and Brittany Winborne each contributed a double-double as Grimes registered 13 points and 10 boards, while Winborne added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Miranda Burroughs and Chelsee Black each added 11 points for UAB.
East Carolina will return to Minges Coliseum on Saturday, February 15, when the Pirates play host to North Texas at 5 p.m.