Late run helps USF top ECU women's basketball

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – A scoreless stretch in the fourth quarter cursed the ECU women’s basketball team to a 63-50 loss against USF on Wednesday night inside Minges Coliseum.

ECU (13-13, 4-9 AAC) shot 21-of-52 (.404) from the field, but just 2-of-11 (.182) from behind the three-point line. The Pirates were led by Raven Johnson, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds to accumulate her second double-double of the season. Also reaching double-figures was Lashonda Monk, as the sophomore guard finished with 12 points, seven assists and four steals.

USF (14-12, 5-7 AAC) was led by Enna Pehadzic, who scored 35 points on 8-of-26 from the floor and 13-of-14 from the free throw line. Pehadzic’s 35 points, six threes and 13 made free throws are all the most for an ECU opponent this season. The Bulls shot just 18-of-57 (.316) from the floor, but made 19-of-27 (.704) from the charity stripe and turned the ball over 15 times to ECU’s 18.

In the early going, the two teams traded the lead back and forth. In the first quarter, neither team led by more than two until USF went on a 5-0 run to take a 11-6 lead just over halfway through the opening frame.

ECU went on a run that spanned the end of the first frame and the beginning of the second that led to the biggest Pirates lead of the night. A Justice Gee layup and a Johnson jumper cut the USF lead to 13-12 at the end of the first. ECU came out at the start of the second quarter and extended that 4-0 run to 12-0, with a pair of buckets from Alex Frazier bookending two Johnson layups.

USF answered with the three-ball and free throws. The Bulls went on a 15-8 run, as Elisa Pinzan made a pair of triples and Pehadzic made one of her own to go with two free throws. Only one three from both Monk and Johnson kept ECU’s lead from evaporating even quicker. The half came to a close with Necole Hope making a free throw with five seconds left, sending ECU into the locker room with a 29-28 lead.

In the third quarter, ECU struggled to keep USF off the foul line. The Bulls shot 11 free throws in the 10 minutes, making seven of them. For the Pirates, Monk and Destiny Campbell produced nearly all of the offense. After a 5-2 USF run that gave the Bulls the lead, Monk made a layup and then added a free throw. The next six ECU points all came on Campbell jumpers. Each time though, the Bulls had an answer of their own. Monk hit one more jumper to tie the score at 42-42, but Pehadzic was fouled with three seconds left, making both tries to put USF up heading into the fourth.

In that fourth quarter, ECU took an early lead. Frazier made a fast break layup to tie the score and Campbell followed with a layup to give ECU a 46-44 lead. Unfortunately, from there ECU could not score while Pehadzic could not miss. ECU did not score from more than six minutes while Pehadzic scored 16 points on three triples and seven free throws, helping USF rattle off a 19-0 run. That scoring stretch was the most consecutive points ECU has allowed all season. By the time USF’s run came to an end with a pair of Salita Greene free throws, the score was 63-48 with under a minute left. Johnson added one final layup to make the final margin 63-50.

ECU will continue the homestand on Saturday afternoon when the Pirates host Cincinnati. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., inside Minges Coliseum with American Digital Network providing the broadcast.