ECU women's basketball falls at Tulane, 68-57

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NEW ORLEANS, LA. (ECU) – A fourth-quarter surge was not enough as the ECU women’s basketball team fell to Tulane 68-57 on Saturday afternoon in Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse.

For ECU (9-5, 0-1 AAC) Lashonda Monk recorded her third career double-double and first of the season by tallying 11 points and 10 rebounds. Monk added seven assists and five steals. Ariyana Williams led the Pirates with 15 points, all of them on three-pointers, while Raven Johnson finished with 12 of her own.

In the AAC opener for both squads, Tulane (11-3, 1-0 AAC) was on the front foot almost from the opening tip. The Pirates struggled to deal with the Green Wave length and hit just one of its first 13 shots. On the other end, Tulane scored the first eight points of the game. Lashonda Monk scored ECU’s first four points, but the second Green Wave three-pointer of the period followed by another Tulane jumper stretched the lead to 15-4. ECU countered with a Desiree Corbin free throw and an Alex Frazier putback, but another Tulane shot from behind the arc pushed the lead again to double-digits. The quarter came to an end with Jade Lewis hitting a jumper to make it 18-9.

ECU’s offensive struggles continued in the second quarter, as the Pirates scored only four points over the first nearly five minutes of the quarter. At the same time, Tulane began to find its range. With the score at 20-13, Tulane went on a 7-0 run, which included three lay-ups and a free throw from one of the makes.

The Pirates finally scored on consecutive possessions when Ariyana Williams buried triples. However barring a Justice Gee layup, the final stretch of the second belonged to Tulane as the Green Wave finished the quarter on a 12-2 run.

The third quarter saw Tulane extend its lead to 27 points, at 50-23. In the final two minutes though, the ECU offense finally showed some signs of life. Lewis added another jumper, which was answered by a Tulane layup. But the period closed on a fastbreak layup from Monk and then a third Williams’ three-pointer, cutting the lead to 57-36.

That momentum carried over into the fourth quarter. ECU, having put on a full-court press, began to turn over Tulane. Two fast-break layups by Raven Johnson were quickly followed by another triple by Williams. A Tulane three-pointer slowed the momentum before the two teams traded baskets. However, two free throws by Johnson and then a traditional three-point play by Monk cut the Tulane lead to 62-50 with 5:35 remaining.

Unfortunately for ECU, following a timeout, Tulane answered with a corner three. The Pirates never got closer than 12 again until a Johnson lay-up in the final minute of play.

ECU finished 21-of-69 (.304) from the field, 5-of-21 (.238) from three and 10-of-20 (.500) from the free throw line. Tulane shot 28-of-62 from the floor, 7-of-21 from behind the arc and 5-of-9 (.556) from the charity stripe. ECU forced Tulane into 20 turnovers, scoring 20 points off turnovers. The Green Wave, in contrast, controlled the paint and the glass, outrebounding ECU 55-35 and outscoring the Pirates 34-26 in the paint and 20-6 on second chances.

For the Green Wave, Krystal Freeman had an overwhelming 17 points and 20 rebounds, including 10 offensive and 10 defensive boards. Sierra Cheatham finished with 12 points, hitting three triples, while Kaila Anderson had nine assists.

ECU returns home on Wednesday evening to take on Wichita State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., inside Minges Coliseum.