GREENVILLE, N.C. – Junior guard Janesha Ebron sunk a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Pirates as East Carolina held off Old Dominion, 64-63, at Minges Coliseum on Thursday afternoon. The Pirates have now won 24 consecutive home games when playing in Greenville.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 17-3 overall and 5-2 in Conference USA action, while the Monarchs fall to 9-12 on the year and 2-5 in league play.
Ebron finished the game with six points, five assists and four rebounds. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne led all scorers with 23 points to mark her 13th game as the leading scorer and her 12th game with 20-plus points. Payne also added nine rebounds for the Pirates. Junior forward Shae Nelson registered a career-high 17 points to go along with two boards and one steal, while redshirt junior guard Abria Trice added 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.
After a quick 2-0 lead by Old Dominion to start the game, ECU went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 advantage at 15:48. However, the Monarchs battled back and tied the game at 9-all with just under 11-minutes left in the first half. ODU took a 21-15 lead after the Monarchs went on a 10-2 run at 7:11, but the Pirates rattled off seven straight points to turn the six-point deficit into a 22-21 lead after a three-pointer from Payne at 5:13 forcing ODU to call for a timeout. During the final five minutes of the first half, the conference foes fought through a back and forth contest until ODU’s Chelisa Painter made a jumper at the buzzer to send the game into halftime tied at 33-33.
Old Dominion out-shot East Carolina in the first half as the Monarchs connected on 14-of-35 field goals for a field goal percentage of 40-percent, while the Pirates shot 36.7-percent after making 11-of-30 field goals. It was a tight game in all statistical categories as rebounds were tied, 22-22, and ECU held a slight edge in assists, 8-7, and blocks, 3-2.
The second half mimicked the first as Old Dominion opened the frame with an early bucket followed by 7-0 ECU run as the Pirates jumped out in front 40-35. The Pirates took their largest lead, 51-40, at 10:57 after an 11-3 run capped off by a Nelson three. The Monarchs would not back down and ODU managed to cut the Pirates’ lead to four (61-57) with 1:34 remaining in the game. With just 20 seconds on the clock, Old Dominion’s Shae Kelley made both free throws to make it a one-possession game (62-60). Ebron drew a foul with 13.3 seconds remaining and sunk both to put the game out of reach as ODU’s Tiffany Minor drained a three at the buzzer to bring the final to 64-63 in favor of East Carolina.
In the game, East Carolina shot 39.3-percent from the field, 37.5-percent from three-point range, and 82.4-percent from the free throw line. The Pirates out-rebounded the Monarchs, 40-36, and held the advantage in assists, 14-10, and blocks, 5-2. Old Dominion had three double-figure scorers in Kelley (20 points), Painter (13 points), and Becca Allison (13 points). Painter finished the game with a double-double as she added a game-high 11 rebounds.
East Carolina will play host to Charlotte on Saturday, February 1, at 5 p.m. Live stats, video and audio will be available on ECUPirates.com.