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ECU women fall at Charlotte

(WITN)
Published: Dec. 1, 2016 at 9:57 PM EST
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Charlotte, N.C. – East Carolina fell to Charlotte 79-64 in its first road game of the season Thursday night inside Halton Arena.

Team Records: East Carolina: 6-3 | Charlotte: 4-3

Gabrielle Holston paced the Pirates with 12 points while Thais Oliveira grabbed a team-best nine rebounds (six offensive). Bre McDonald and Kristen Gaffney pulled down eight rebounds apiece while McDonald added 10 points.

Grace Hunter, the 49ers leading scorer coming into the contest, led her team with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Ciara Gregory chipped in 20 points on the strength of four three-point field goals.

Charlotte knocked down 32 of its 69 attempts from the field to end up with a 46.4 percent shooting performance. ECU hit 25 shots out of 67 for 37.3 percent. The Pirates had the better of the rebounding battle, corralling 44 boards to the 49ers’ 41. East Carolina notched 15 offensive rebounds that led to 11 second chance points. The ECU bench also out-scored the home team’s reserves 26-6.

HEAD COACH HEATHER MACY:

“It was really disappointing. We dug ourselves too big of a hole and did not defend the way we needed to. You can’t give up 79 points on the road and expect to win a basketball game. We have to get back to work and get better quickly before we have another opportunity to play Sunday.”

FIRST QUARTER

Hunter started off the game with the first of Charlotte’s four three-point field goals in the period to give the 49ers a quick lead. Gaffney and Khadidja Toure then scored consecutive buckets that put East Carolina on top 4-3, but Charlotte netted the next five points to grab the lead back at the 6:58 mark.

The game began to speed up as the teams traded blows on the offensive end as every time the 49ers tried to pull away, ECU produced a basket to keep the home side within reach. After Laia Raventos made it 18-13 with a triple with 3:12 on the clock, the Pirates scored seven of the final 11 points to draw within 22-21 as the quarter expired.

SECOND QUARTER

Just as in the first frame, Hunter began the stanza with a bucket just 33 seconds in. Charlotte pushed the pace and extended its lead to 10 at the 4:05 mark thanks to a Hunter layup in transition before Nyila Jamison-Myers afforded the 49ers their largest cushion of the half with a layup just 23 seconds later. Oliveira provided East Carolina with a spark, scoring four quick points to slice the Charlotte advantage down to six and force a 49er timeout. A pair of Frazier free throws represented the final points of the half as Charlotte took a four-point edge into the break.

THIRD QUARTER

The 49ers came out and hit a big three to begin the half and moved in front by eight following an old fashioned three-point play by Raventos. A McDonald layup at the 6:53 mark shrunk the Charlotte lead to 46-40, but the 49ers held ECU to just two points over the next several minutes and were able to extend the advantage to as much as 14 with 3:49 to play in the period. A three-point play by Holston with 1:30 on the clock brought the Pirates to within single digits again at 60-51 and the teams traded buckets to end the stanza.

FOURTH QUARTER

A fastbreak layup by Holston kept Charlotte from running too far ahead as East Carolina trailed 66-57 with 8:30 remaining in regulation. However, the 49ers scored the next eight points to build a 17-point cushion at the 6:53 mark. The Pirates were able to cut the Charlotte lead to 11 on a Toure free throw with 2:24 to go before the 49ers settled for the 15-point margin of victory.

UP NEXT

East Carolina takes the court back at Minges Coliseum Sunday for a non-conference tilt with MEAC side Maryland Eastern Shore. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.