ECU women drop AAC game to UCF at home
GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina’s Bre McDonald and Khadidja Toure each scored in double figures but a late UCF run doomed the Pirates Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum.
Team Records: East Carolina (10-9, 1-5 AAC) | UCF (12-6, 2-3 AAC)
Bre McDonald and Khadidja Toure had 13 points and 12 points respectively in East Carolina’s loss to UCF Wednesday night. McDonald was one rebound shy of tallying her sixth double-double of the season. Of Toure’s 12 points, nine were from three-point range as the senior connected on 3-of-7 shots from downtown.
East Carolina shot 31.4 percent from the field in the loss and just 38.9 percent from the free throw line (7-for-18). The Pirates committed 21 turnovers while UCF made four less (17). The Knights also outrebounded the Pirates 49-37 in Wednesday night’s matchup en route to their first win inside Minges Coliseum since the two first met in 2006.
Aliyah Gregory led all scorers with 17 points while UCF’s Fifi Ndour had a double-double scoring 10 points and 10 rebounds. UCF shot 63.6 percent from the free-throw line and scored 22 points in the paint.
Head Coach Heather Macy
"Well, that was a really tough one. We did not finish the basketball game like you need to. I am disappointed in our performance tonight. I think we’ve consistently hit bad stretches and what we have been working on in practice is reducing the length of those stretches. Unfortunately we had a long stretch tonight and it happened to be at the most pivotal point in the fourth quarter.”
Macy on any particular mistakes in the fourth:
"We didn’t do a great job valuing the basketball. But we also sent them to the free throw line a lot and when we went to the line, we shot 38.9 percent.”
Macy on momentum decline in fourth period:
"I think that we did a really nice job defensively that enabled us to still be coaching in the fourth quarter. We had given ourselves an opportunity with the way we shot the opportunity. So no, I think that we had very timely turnovers that led to transition opportunities for UCF.”
UCF took a 4-0 lead to open the game but East Carolina responded on a 7-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 7-6, at the 6:07 mark. The Knights kept ECU scoreless from the field for the remainder of the period. East Carolina trailed UCF 12-8 at the buzzer with Bre McDonald leading the squad with four points and three rebounds.
The Pirates took control in the opening minutes in the second quarter, but a 9-4 run by UCF forced Coach Macy into taking a timeout with 4:57 to play and East Carolina in a 21-12 deficit. ECU held the Knights scoreless for the final 2:43 of the first half and closed the deficit to five, 23-18, with a layup by Dominique Claytor in the final seconds of the second quarter. By halftime, ECU was shooting 28 percent from the field. UCF was shooting 34.4 percent and outrebounding the Pirates 26-18 with 16 points in the paint.
East Carolina opened the fourth quarter on a 9-4 run. A jumper by UCF’s Aliyah Gregory ended a 4:07 scoring draught for the Knights with two and a half minutes to play in the frame. Khadidja Toure hit her third three-pointer of the game with 1:26 to go in the quarter giving ECU a 34-33 lead. Less than a minute later the Knights responded with a trey of their own y Zykira Lewis making it a two-point game in favor of UCF. Alex Frazier made the first of two free throws making it 36-35 UCF, a score that would hold through the end of the frame.
The Purple & Gold stumbled into a scoring draught in the fourth quarter which allowed the UCF to take the lead. The Knights strung together a 12-1 run over four minutes in the fourth quarter to put East Carolina behind 48-41with 2:06 to play. UCF outscored the Pirates 18-7 in the final quarter and ended the game on a 18-2 run, keeping the Pirates off the board from field goal range in the finale seven and a half minutes of action.
East Carolina looks to snap a three-game losing streak when it heads to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats at 2 p.m. on the American Digital Network Saturday, January 21.