GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – A cold streak in the third quarter was too much for the ECU women’s basketball team to overcome, as the Pirates fell to Charlotte 59-47 on Sunday night in Minges Coliseum.
ECU falls to 1-3 on the season while Charlotte stays perfect at 4-0.
Lashonda Monk led ECU with 17 points, tying a career-high four three-pointers and had five rebounds and four assists. Necole Hope was also in double-figures, scoring 10 points. Taniyah Thompson just missed her fourth straight double-figure game, finishing with nine points and a career-high four assists.
Mariah Linney led the 49ers with 20 points, shooting 5-of-14 from beyond the arc and had a game-high five steals. Jade Phillips had a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jazmin Harris rounded out a trio of Charlotte players with at least 10 points, scoring 10 points to go with eight rebounds.
ECU took advantage of three-pointers to take a 26-25 lead into halftime. ECU made five triples in the first 20 minutes (four by Monk, one from Hope), including Monk nailing one at the halftime buzzer. The junior guard had 14 points in the opening 20 minutes. On the other end, the majority of the Charlotte offense went through Phillips, as she shot 6-of-9 and had 12 points.
Linney started the second half by making a pair of three’s for the 49ers. After a pair of Charlotte free throws gave the 49ers a 33-28 lead, Thompson answered for the Pirates, scoring five straight points to tie the game. However, after Thompson nailed a three-pointer with 7:26 remaining in the third period, ECU did not score again until Hope made a three with 1:08 to go. In that span, Linney made two more shots behind the arc, Phillips added a jumper, and Charlotte made two free throws for a 10-0 run. Hope’s three ensured ECU went into the fourth quarter trailing 43-36.
In the fourth, ECU scored four of the first six points to cut the Charlotte lead to five, 45-40. Another 6-0 Charlotte run pushed the deficit back to double-digits however, and ECU never got closer than six the rest of the way.
ECU shot 17-of-56 (.304) from the floor, a season-best 7-of-19 (.368) from three and 6-of-10 (.600) from the free throw line. The Pirates forced just 23 Charlotte turnovers and were outrebounded 44-29. Charlotte shot 21-of-56 (.375) from the field, 7-of-25 (.280) from beyond the arc and 10-of-12 (.833) at the free throw line.
ECU will be on the road for the first time on Wednesday when the Pirates play at VCU. It will be the second Education Day of the year for ECU, with tipoff scheduled for 11 a.m.
The Pirates used a new starting lineup for the first time this season after starting the same five for the first three games.
Ryann Evans and Tiara Chambers both got their first career starts alongside Tamia Hicks, Hope and Thompson.
Monk started the game 3-of-3 from three-point land, including a buzzer beater at the halftime buzzer.
Thompson failed to score in double-figures for the first time this season after she became the first freshman in over 20 years to start her career with three straight double-figure games.
Head Coach Kim McNeil
Opening Statement: “It was a very good team out there, Charlotte. Very hard nosed, tough team. They played really hard and they do what they do well. They deserved to win the game tonight because they executed their game plan and we didn’t. We will keep working, we will keep getting better. I will continue to say that the team we are now will not be the team that we are in January. As a staff, we believe in this team, we believe that we’re setting a standard here for this program, and we’ll keep pushing and challenging these ladies every day.”
On Charlotte’s 10-0 run in the third quarter: “They played a 2-3 zone against us. We weren’t shooting the ball that well, and I thought we didn’t do a good job executing against the zone. We got a little passive as far as trying to penetrate the gaps and create the easy shots for ourselves, so we were taking some really tough shots. Some shots that we had, with hands in our faces. I thought against Middle Tennessee, who also played a zone against us, I thought we did a good job of attacking and finding the gaps and creating for each other, whereas tonight I thought they were more difficult shots. They did a good job of boxing us out and limiting us to one shot. So. we were pretty much one-and-done for a while.”
On how the team is progressing: “We’ve got to be a better disciplined team. I keep telling everybody that this is not about building a team, it’s about building a program, and there is a difference between building a team and building a program. We’ve got to become a more disciplined team, we’ve got to play with more sense of urgency. All of that comes a part of doing it in the program, teaching kids how to win and what it takes to win, and really buying in on the little things.”
Junior guard Lashonda Monk
On the takeaways after the first four games: “Like coach said, I think we’ve just go to keep working, keep putting the little pieces together, keep being disciplined. Keep executing on defense and offense, I think we just have to buy into her program.”
On her emotions after the game: “Of course, I wanted my team to win. I wanted us to win the past couple of games that we lost. I’m just very passionate about the game, so of course I am very emotional that we lost, but I’ll get back after it.”