GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team pushed its home win streak to 23 games as the Pirates held off Rice, 53-47, in a defensive contest on Wednesday night. The Pirates are now 16-2 on the year and 4-1 in Conference USA action, while the Owls drop to 10-8 overall and 3-2 in league play.
The game, which marked ECU’s lowest scoring of the season, saw the Pirates shoot 30.2-percent from the field, while the Owls were limited to 27.8-percent. It was also the second lowest scoring contest of the year for Rice as Baylor held the Owls to 46 points on November 18.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne tallied her sixth double-double of the season as she registered a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two assists and one steal. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw led the Pirates with 11 boards and narrowly missed a double-double as she recorded a career-best nine points. Also notching double-figure rebounds was redshirt junior guard Abria Trice who collected 10 for a new career-high, while adding seven points, three steals and two assists.
Rice won the tip and quickly jumped out in front as the Owls took a seven-point advantage (9-2) at 15:08 in the first half. East Carolina, however, fought back and after a 14-2 run forced Rice to call for a timeout after taking an 18-13 lead with 4:45 left in the frame. ECU extended its lead to eight (25-17) with just over one minute remaining and went on to hold a 25-19 advantage at halftime.
In the first half, neither team shot more than 30-percent from the field and both squads struggled from three-point range as Rice connected on just one three-point field goal, while ECU went 0-for-8. The defensive contest saw ECU hold the edge in steals, 9-1, while forcing 12 turnovers.
East Carolina led throughout the second half, but Rice stayed within striking distance. The Pirates took a nine-point lead (34-25) after a three-pointer from redshirt junior guard Kyani White, but the Owls countered with a 9-2 run to make it a one-possession game (36-34) at 10:55. ECU continued to battle as the Pirates took their largest lead of the game on a trey from Payne to go up 46-35 at 7:39. Despite the double-digit deficit, Rice would not quit and the Owls used a 9-0 run to cut ECU’s lead to 46-44 with 3:34 on the clock. However, Trice would connect for a pair of crucial jumpers to give East Carolina the 53-47 victory.
Jessica Kuster led Rice in both scoring and rebounding as she tallied a double-double with 11 points and 17 boards. Kuster also added three assists, two blocks and one steal. Nakachi Maduka finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds.
The Pirates travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on Southern Miss on Saturday, January 29 at the Reed Green Coliseum. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. (ET). Live stats and video will be available on both ECUPirates.com and SouthernMiss.com.