GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina shot 26.2 percent from the field in a 76-43 loss to Temple inside Minges Coliseum Saturday night.
The Pirates were led by Kristen Gaffney who had 11 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of her fourth double-double of the season. The loss marked the ninth straight for the Pirates, and second to the Owls this season. Nearly 1,900 fans flooded the arena for ECU’s annual Play for Kay game where cancer survivors were honored at halftime and throughout the contest.
The Pirates scored the opening basket but a three-pointer by Donnaizha Fountain gave Temple its first, and only, lead of the game at 7:40. Temple slowly broke away from the Pirates and led by 26, 46-20, at halftime.
Four Owls scored in double figures while Gaffney was East Carolina’s only player in double digits. Fountain had the game’s only double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Every member of East Carolina’s squad scored in the loss with the Pirates’ bench contributing 15 points.
Head Coach Heather Macy
"First I’d like to thank our community and all of the people who have worked incredibly hard within our athletics department to create such a great game day environment. Thank you to all of those guys for bringing our community out, bringing awareness to such an important cause. So, we fight to find a cure for cancer. Thanks to everybody who was a part of that and the spirit of this, regardless of the game, it was absolutely incredible. That’s one of the reasons I love East Carolina and Greenville.”
Macy on Temple’s defense:
“Well when everybody scores and it’s just three, it’s not going to equal a bunch of points. Temple is a very good defensive team, they’re really aggressive and I think that we responded well with the pressure.”
On advice she gives the players to keep their heads up:
“I have to remind myself of my own message. Which is NBA and CBA. NBA is ‘what is your next best action’, and that is where we are right now. My message to the team is ‘anything your mind can conceive and believe it will achieve.’ So you have to keep believing, you keep working. Believing without work doesn’t happen positively so we’ll keep working, we’ll keep believing and we’ll keep growing so we keep getting better.”
On what it will take to gain momentum:
“A lot of the message tonight was teaching as the players were coming out. Especially some of the freshman. There were very, very teachable moments throughout this game so that they understand what my motivation is and where my energy comes from.
On what wasn’t working tonight:
“The shots didn’t go in. We shot 11 percent, 27 percent and 26 percent in three of the four quarters. So my coaching friends and I joke about it; just make shots and basketball is a lot better. At some point when you both shoot 61 points, you look, and they made 30 of them and we made 16.”
East Carolina took the lead first with a layup by Bre McDonald after a steal by the Pirates’ senior forward. Temple responded with a 12-4 run to lead by six at the media timeout. The Owls made four three-pointers in the opening frame which greatly helped Temple to pull ahead 23-9 by the end of the quarter. East Carolina shot just 26.7 percent from the field while Temple was 50 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from behind the arc.
Temple opened the quarter on a 11-6 run to lead by 21 at the 5:52 mark. A jumped by Dominique Claytor cut the margin to 19 points but the Pirates would score just one basket from the field throughout the remainder of the quarter. The Owls entered halftime on a 10-3 run to lead 46-20 at the break. The Pirates had their best offensive period in the second shooting 45.5 percent from the field with five players putting the ball in the hoop.
East Carolina was unable to close the gap in the third quarter, trailing by as many as 30 points with 2:21 to play in the frame. The Pirates bench accounted for seven of ECU’s 13 points in the quarter, the highest scoring period in the game. ECU outscored Temple 13-11 but the Owls shot 33.3 percent from the field and East Carolina was just 11.8 percent from field goal range.
Temple continued to pull further and further ahead of East Carolina in the final frame, outscoring ECU 19-10. The Owls took their biggest lead of the game, by 35, with one minute to play but a layup by Justice Gee cut it to 33 points. The Owls shot an impressive 57.1 percent in the last 10 minutes while ECU was 27.8 percent on the floor and without a basket from behind the arc.
East Carolina hits the road for the first time since January 31 on Wednesday when the Pirates travel to Memphis. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m.