Tulsa, Okla. – Khadidja Toure matched her career-best with a 25 point performance in East Carolina’s 100-92 loss on the road at Tulsa Tuesday night. The Pirates had a season-low nine turnovers in the loss and had three players in double figures in the loss.
Bre McDonald had her sixth double-double of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds while Kristen Gaffney was second on the team in scoring with 24 points and 11 rebounds, nine offensive, for a double-double of her own.
The Pirates forced overtime with a buzzer beater from Toure at the end of regulation but Tulsa outscored the Purple and Gold 18-10 in the extra period for the 100-92 win. Kendrian Elliott led all scorers with 27 points and 13 rebounds while Liesl Spoerl had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Tulsa’s second double-double.
East Carolina shot 39.8 percent from the field in the loss and 38.9 percent from behind the arc (7-for18). Tulsa shot 50.8 percent from the field and out-rebounded ECU 49-43.
Head Coach Heather Macy
"I am really proud of the kids for that final five minutes to continue attacking and give us a shot. We had a big shot there at the end of regulation by Toure. She played really big for us tonight including in that stretch with the three-consecutive threes. I really appreciate her and ultimately, the fight in the team. It looked really good. "I hope that we can build on the energy level. The effort was where it needed to be.”
On the seniors stepping up with a big game:
“When you get 20 more shots than your opponent gets, you expect good things to happen. I think we got the ball to the right people. With Gaffney getting 21 shots and Bre [McDonald] and Toure getting 19 and 17. That’s a lot of shots so you feel comfortable with that. But when you give up 100, that’s a lot of points. Obviously Tulsa has been really hot lately here in conference play and they have been playing really, really well.
On the takeaway from the team’s effort:
“I hope that our basketball team has learned that you have got to fight until the end. That’s what this game is, you play for 40. We need to take some of the momentum that we had and continue to build as we go back in. You know, my big message has been every day we are going to keep coaching and teaching them and we are coaching them and teaching them as hard as we possibly can.”
On team’s season-low turnovers:
"That’s why we had 20 more shots than they did. Because we took care of the basketball and got it to the rim. We had 17 offensive rebounds and had second, third chance opportunities. We just didn’t put enough of them in the hole.”
Tulsa took an early five-point lead 9-4 but two free throws by McDonald at 6:29 made it a one possession game. The Golden Hurricane would again take a five-point lead twice in the quarter but a layup by McDonald cut Tulsa’s lead to one at 2:43 and a layup by Khadidja Toure with two and a half minutes to go gave East Carolina its first lead of the game, 16-15. The Pirates closed the quarter on a 9-4 run tying the game 19-all at the buzzer. The Purple and Gold shot 61.5 percent from the field in the frame and 33.3 percent from three-point range and held Tulsa to 43.8 percent from the field and just 16.7 percent from behind the arc.
The two squads exchanged baskets to open the second frame but a deep trey by Antoinette Bannister gave East Carolina the lead at 7:27. As the second quarter progressed, the game was tied six times as Tulsa edged ECU 19-18 in the frame to lead 38-37 at halftime. The Pirates shot 33.3 percent from the field at the break with Gaffney leading the way with 11 points and six rebounds while McDonald was already flirting with a double-double having 10 points and seven rebounds.
Tulsa opened the third quarter on a run to take an eight-point lead but East Carolina would not back down. The Pirates cut it to 53-48 just before the end of the quarter when McDonald hit a three pointer from the wing. The Golden Hurricane held on to lead 53-48 at the end of the frame.
East Carolina trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter but Toure hit three consecutive three-pointers making it a one-possession game at 7:14. At the 3:29 McDonald fed Toure on a fast break making it a 77-74 Tulsa lead. The Pirates continued to chip away and outscored the Golden Hurricane 31-24 in the final frame. Toure hit a buzzer beating layup with to send the game into overtime with the score knotted at 82-all.
Tulsa scored first in the extra period and never looked back. The Golden Hurricane led by as many as 10 points in overtime but East Carolina continued to answer. The Pirates sent Tulsa to the free throw line where the Hurricane was able to capitalize and hold ECU off for a 100-92 win.
East Carolina returns home for a three-game stretch. The Pirates kick off the home slate against Houston on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN3.