East Carolina Coasts To 66-58 Victory Over Maryland Eastern Shore
GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina never trailed Sunday afternoon in posting a 66-58 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore in a non-conference women’s basketball contest at Minges Coliseum.
Team Records: East Carolina: 7-3 | Maryland Eastern Shore: 3-3
ECU ran its season record in Greenville to 5-1 and has now won 24 of its last 25 non-conference home games.
Bre McDonald scored a team-high 10 points for East Carolina while adding seven rebounds. She also posted two assists and four steals. Kristen Gaffney and Khadidja Toure notched eight points apiece as 10 of 11 Pirates scored in the contest. Ciani Byrom poured in 23 points for the Hawks, converting nine of her 13 free throw attempts.
ECU shot 36.4 percent on the strength of 24 made field goals and limited MDES to just 19 made shots in 51 tries (37.3 percent). The Pirates dominated the glass, pulling down 45 rebounds as compared to the Hawks’ 34 while also collecting 21 offensive rebounds that turned into 10 second chance points. East Carolina also had significant advantages in points in the paint (32-24) and bench points (29-3) while forcing 16 Hawk turnovers. ECU finished with 14 in improving to 5-0 when winning the turnover battle.
Head Coach Heather Macy:
“All wins are good wins and I think you’ll see throughout college basketball that this is the time of year that they get prepared for exams. You’ll see funny play and funny scores all the way across the country and I think we had spurts of that tonight. I’m looking forward to giving the kids a little bit of a break so that they can prepare for the exam period and just refine a few things in our game, but what I can tell you about this basketball team is that we will continue to get better the more that we play and the more that we practice. You can see the growth of the team and we are now learning when players need the ball in certain situations and what they’re going to do when the lights are on.”
On using all 11 players:
“I was just talking out there about the starting lineup and I think that’s such a skewed term with our basketball team because I feel like we have eleven kids that can play basketball. On any given night, it may be their opportunity and their number. The level of being prepared for those opportunities is so important to us this year.”
“I don’t know if they’re getting comfortable with the rotation, but I’ve got to see what they’re going to do when I put them out there for those moments. We will shorten it but the time is not now. We’ve got a couple more non-conference games to go before we can tell a little bit better.”
On Kristen Gaffney shooting four three-point shots:
“She can shoot that basketball and I think that she should shoot it more. I am very comfortable with her taking the four threes today.”
Senior Guard/Forward Fanni Csutoras:
“I feel like Coach knows what she’s doing and knows how to sub. She knows the game and who feels comfortable on the court. The other thing is when you’re engaged on the bench, you can get to the court ready. I feel like even though I only played nine minutes, I felt like I was engaged on the bench and helped my teammates on the court. The main key is being engaged in the game and the result will come with it.”
Gaffney dropped in a layup at the 8:28 mark for the game’s first points and afforded ECU a lead it would never relinquish. Maryland Eastern Shore kept it within two possessions for the majority of the period until a jumper by Gabrielle Holston pushed the Pirate advantage to 17-11 with under a minute on the clock. Keyera Eaton scored the final point of the quarter on a free throw to leave East Carolina with a five-point lead.
Thais Oliveira grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck the ball back into the net to extend the ECU edge to 21-14 inside the first minute of the stanza and McDonald followed with a jumper to make it 23-14. The Hawks netted the next four points to slice the lead to five before Raven Johnson knocked down a pair of jumpers to re-establish the nine-point cushion. The Pirates were unable to find the basket for the next three and a half minutes, allowing MDES to draw within two points at 27-25 with 2:43 to go before halftime. However, Toure ended the run with a big triple and Csutoras hit a three of her own in succession to put the East Carolina lead at 33-27 with time winding down. Moengaroa Subritzsky drained a triple with 21 seconds on the clock for the last points of the half as the Pirates to a 35-30 lead into the break.
ECU scored quickly out of the intermission in the form of a Toure three-pointer and Antoinette Bannister swished one from beyond the arc two minutes later to put the Pirates ahead by double digits, 41-30. The lead would grow to 12 on a Holston free throw before Maryland Eastern Shore was able to chip away at its deficit a bit. Byrom would put in a layup with 4:40 on the clock, but a nice turnaround jumper by Alex Frazier capped a 7-0 ECU run that gave the Purple and Gold a 51-38 advantage at the 1:59 mark. Byrom kept the Hawks in the game by scoring six of the quarter’s final eight points as East Carolina settled for a 51-44 lead after three periods of play.
The Pirate defense really clamped down, allowing MDES just two points in the first 6:27 of the frame. That allowed East Carolina to put the game out of reach as a McDonald jumper saw the home team in front 63-48 with 3:03 remaining in regulation. ECU scored just three more points the rest of the contest, but was not threatened again. Mariah McCoy hit a three with 21 seconds left to pull the Hawks within the final margin of eight points.
East Carolina will take an extended break for exams, returning to the court Saturday, Dec. 17, for a non-conference tilt at Richmond. Tipoff from the Robbins Center is scheduled for 4 p.m.