GREENVILLE, N.C. – Celeste Stewart hit a key three-pointer with 1:13 left in the game to break a 48-48 tie and give East Carolina its final lead of the game as the Pirates went on to defeat UAB, 53-52, at Minges Coliseum. The victory marks the 20th win of the season for ECU as the Pirates improve to 20-7 (10-4 C-USA), while the Blazers fall to 16-11 (7-7 C-USA).
Stewart finished the contest with 14 points, a game-high seven assists, and three rebounds. Whitny Edwards also led the Pirates in scoring with 14 points, while adding four boards, and two steals. Tatiana Chapple tied her season-high with seven rebounds and also contributed six points, and five assists. Kristine Mial came off the bench and tallied nine points, while Kyani White and Janesha Ebron each added three steals. White also posted five points, three boards and as many assists.
The Pirates got things started offensively as they quickly jumped out to a 7-1 lead in a game that would eventually see five ties and six lead changes. However, the Blazers fought back and took an 11-9 advantage after going on a 10-2 run. The Pirates were able to turn things around and take a 20-18 edge on a three-pointer from Whitny Edwards. ECU’s lead, however, was short-lived as UAB’s Ashley Grimes and Karisma Chapman hit back-to-back buckets to give the Blazers’ a 22-10 lead with 8:47 left in the first half. Despite ECU’s efforts, the Pirates were unable to regain the lead as UAB took a 30-29 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Although UAB scored first in the second half, ECU was quick to counter as Whitny Edwards hit a jumper followed by two made free throws from Stewart to give the Pirates their first lead (33-32) of the game since 9:34 of the first half. The Pirates and Blazers battled each other as the two squads exchanged leads over the next few minutes culminating in a 48-48 tie with just 1:32 left in the game.
At 1:13, Stewart stepped up for the Pirates and drained a three-point field goal to give ECU a 51-48 advantage. UAB’s Michaelea Kleist made her way under the basket and threw the ball up for a layup to cut the Pirates’ lead to one with 52 seconds left in the game. With just 20 seconds remaining, Stewart was fouled and made both of her free throws to extend the Pirates’ lead to three (53-50). Chapman ran the ball back to the Blazers’ side of the court and collected a layup with five seconds left on the clock to move the score to 53-52 in favor of East Carolina and the Pirates went on to collect the victory.
East Carolina shot 53.3-percent from three-point range in the contest, while the ECU defense limited the Blazers to a mere 14.3-percent from beyond the arc. The Pirates held the edge on rebounds as they tallied 32 to UAB’s 26. The Pirates’ bench scored 12 points, while the Blazers’ non-starters we unable to find the basket.
Chapman led all scorers with 21 points and added seven rebounds with a game-high six steals. Jones finished the game with 11 points, while Khalilah Watson added a team-best six assists to go along with five boards.
The Pirates will play their last regular-season home game on Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m., when they host Memphis on Senior Day. Live stats, video, and an internet broadcast will be available on ECUPirates.com.