Payne Paces Pirates Past Greyhounds

GREENVILLE, N.C. -Redshirt sophomore Jada Payne poured in a career-high 26 points to help lift East Carolina over Loyola (Md.), 68-47, on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates used a balanced offense and a stout defense to improve to 4-0 on the year, while the Greyhounds dropped to 0-3.

Payne, who has recorded back-to-back 20-point performances, led the offensive attack with a game-high 26 points while shooting 66.7-percent (8-for-12) from the field, 83.3-percent (5-for-6) from three-point range and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. The Hickory, N.C., native also added seven rebounds, and a steal in the contest.

Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice contributed nine points, four boards, two assists and a steal, while junior forward Tatiana Chapple led the Pirates with eight rebounds, six points, one assist and a steal. Junior guard Janesha Ebron notched a game-high five assists, while posting four boards, three steals, and two points. Ondrea Shaw, a junior post, led ECU with four blocks and seven rebounds, while senior forward Kristine Mial was the team leader in steals with four.

The Pirates out-shot the Greyhounds 38.6-percent to 31.9-percent and ECU held the edge in rebounding (47-30) as well. Additionally, East Carolina recorded 14 assists to Loyola's 10, while the Pirates collected 15 steals and the Greyhounds grabbed 12.

Despite Loyola winning the tip and scoring first, the first half of the game belonged to the Pirates. Following the initial Loyola bucket, the Pirates went on an 8-0 sparked by back-to-back threes from Payne. After Loyola cut the Pirates' lead to two (10-8) on a Kara Marshall three-pointer at 14:47, ECU used a 16-0 run to go up 26-8 and did not allow the Greyhounds to score for more than seven minutes. Loyola's Marshall broke the scoring drought with a trey at the 8:00-minute mark, but the Pirates continued to control the first half. The Greyhounds managed to close the frame on a 6-0 run, but East Carolina still held a 13-point advantage (34-21) heading into the locker room.

In the first half alone, Payne tallied 19 points and five rebounds after shooting 85.7-percent (6-for-7) from the floor. She was a flawless 5-for-5 from three-point range, and 2-for-2 from the line. As a team, the Pirates shot 41.9-percent (13-for-31) from the field in the first half and 50.0-percent (6-for-12) from beyond the arc.

The East Carolina defense continued its stout play in the second half as the Pirates limited the Greyhounds to just 28.0-percent (7-for-25) shooting. The Pirates' offense shot 34.6-percent (9-for-26) and outscored Loyola 34-26 in the frame.

Payne led the Pirates in the second half with seven points, while redshirt junior guard Kyani White contributed six points in the frame. Shaw stepped up and added a team-leading five boards while putting up all four of her blocks in the half.

Loyola's Nai Brown came off the bench and notched 11 points in the frame, but the Pirates managed to shut down the Greyhounds as ECU led by as many as 27 (65-38) in the game. With a nearly 30-point advantage and 3:57 left to play, ECU pulled its starters and went on to win the contest, 68-47.

The Greyhounds had three double-figure scorers in Brown (11), Tiffany Padgett (10), and Nicole Krusen (10). Jeneh Perry led the team with 11 rebounds and a game-high five steals, while Marshall and Nneka Offodile each contributed three assists. Marshall also added eight points, one rebound, one block and three steals.