Connie James’ free throws with 3.2 seconds to play lifted Long Island to a 66-65 win over East Carolina Friday night at the Wellness Center on the campus of Long Island University. The Lady Pirates had an opportunity to tie the game, but mishandled the ball as time expired. The Blackbirds improve to 2-1 on the season while the Lady Pirates fall to 1-2.
After the Lady Pirates jumped out to the early 4-0 lead, the Blackbirds went on a 6-0 run to take the 6-4 lead with 17:23 to play in the opening half. Lauren Cochran’s jumper tied the game at 6 a-piece, but LIU’s Sara Oblak’s layup with 16:40 on the clock gave the Blackbirds the 8-6 edge. Back-to-back jumpers by the Lady Pirates put them on top 10-8 but Minna Sten’s three-pointer with 13:47 remaining sparked a 7-0 Blackbird rally, giving LIU the 15-10 lead. LaCoya Terry scored a fast break layup off a Jasmine Young steal to briefly stop the LIU run, but Sten hit another jumper to put the Blackbirds up 17-12, with under 11 minutes remaining on the clock. Shuanda Ashford’s jumper at the 6:48 mark sparked a 21-4 run by East Carolina to end the first half, taking a ten point, 33-23 lead into the break.
Young started the second half with a three-pointer, to increase ECU’s lead to 13. Valerie Nainima’s four-point play at the 16:08 mark pulled the Blackbirds within seven, 42-35. Three straight buckets by Young kept the Lady Pirates on top 49-43 with just under ten minutes to play in the game before the Blackbirds put together another run. Mikaelar Whippy scored seven unanswered points to tie the contest at 49 all before an Oblak layup gave the Blackbirds their first lead of the second half, 51-49, with 7:41 to play. The lead switched hands four more times over the next six minutes, before LIU’s Nainima connected on a three-pointer with 1:20 to play to give the Blackbirds the 64-61 lead. Nicole Days’ layup with a minute to play pulled the Lady Pirates within in one, 64-63, and Young put ECU on top with her drive to the basket with 14.9 seconds on the clock. LIU’s James was fouled with just 3.2 seconds to play, and her two free throws sealed the game for the Blackbirds.
Young led all scorers with 24 points, adding six rebounds and three steals. Days recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and a career-tying 13 rebounds, while Terry added 13 points and nine rebounds. Oblak and Nainima led the Blackbirds with 20 points a piece while Whippy added 13. All 20 of Nainima’s points came in the second half.
The Lady Pirates return home this Monday, Nov. 19 as they host High Point at 7:00 p.m. at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.