HOUSTON, Texas. – Valeriya Berezhynska’s 23 points and 19 rebounds proved too much for East Carolina as Rice defeated the Lady Pirates 69-62 in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon. ECU finishes the regular season with a 13-16 overall record, 7-9 in Conference USA action, while the Owls finished at 13-17, 6-10 in league play.
After increasing their lead to ten points, 39-29, with 16:00 remaining in the contest, Rice put together an 11-2 run to tie the game at 41 a-piece at the 13:07 mark. Spivey’s jumper put ECU back on top, 43-41, but the Owls used a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to take the eight point, 53-45 lead with eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Pirates got as close as three points, at 65-62, with 18.0 seconds to play on a pair of Nicole Days free throws but could not get any closer, as Rice held on for the 69-62 victory.
Rice led for most of the first half, enjoying a seven point, 17-10 lead with 6:47 to play. East Carolina chipped away at the lead, with Allison Spivey and Jasmine Young hitting back to back three-pointers to pull within one, 17-16, with 4:51 remaining. A pair of LaCoya Terry free throws with 2:20 remaining in the half gave East Carolina its first lead of the contest, 23-22. Valeriya Berezhynska’s free throws put the Owls back up one, but Spivey connected on her second trey of the day to put ECU back up, and added a jumper to give the Lady Pirates the 28-24 lead at the break.
Young led East Carolina with 18 points and five assists, going 3-for-10 from behind the arc while Spivey added 14 and Terry had 13, going 5-for-7 from the charity stripe. Berezhynska led all scorers with 23 points and 19 rebounds, going 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
East Carolina will return to Greenville for a few days before departing on Tuesday, March 4 for the 2008 Conference USA Championships in Orlando, Fla. ECU’s seed will be announced later tonight by the league. The 2008 bracket will be available on www.conferenceusa.com later tonight. The Lady Pirates will be without junior Impris Manning for the remainder of the season, as she has been dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules.