WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (ECU) – An early barrage was too much to handle as the ECU women's basketball team fell to Northwestern 64-45 in the opening game of the West Palm Beach Classic at Keiser University.
ECU drops to 3-8 on the season while Northwestern improves to 9-1.
The Pirates were led in scoring by Taniyah Thompson, as the freshman guard finished with 15 points to lead all scorers. Necole Hope had nine points while Tiara Chambers set new career-highs in points (six) and rebounds (eight). Lashonda Monk finished with a team-high in assists (three) and steals (four).
Northwestern had three players finish in double-figures, led by Lindsey Pulliam's 13. Abbie Wolf and Jordan Hamilton each finished with 12. The Wildcats had a 40-25 edge in rebounds and a 17-3 advantage in second-chance points. Sydney Wood and Jordan Burton each passed out four assists while Hamilton grabbed five steals.
The first quarter went in opposite directions for both teams. ECU struggled to score, shooting just 2-of-13 (.154) in the opening stanza. Northwestern on the other hand, controlled the paint and shot 8-of-15 (.533) as well as scoring six second-chance points. That led to a 20-5 Wildcat advantage at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Thompson was able to provide a spark for the Pirate offense. She had an old-fashioned three-point play in the early going and then hit another jumper at the 7:05 mark to cut the lead to 26-13. After the Wildcats ripped off six straight points, Thompson again tried to drag ECU back into it. She hit a three-pointer out of a timeout, then hit another one possession later. After a Northwestern jumper, Katerina Tsineke buried a three-pointer of her own, making it 34-22 with 2:05 left in the half. Thompson finished with 11 points in the run and had 13 in the first half.
Unfortunately for ECU, the Pirates scored just one point the rest of the half and a Northwestern putback at the buzzer saw the lead increase to 41-23 heading into the second half.
A strong third quarter for Northwestern all but sealed the game. The Wildcats outscored ECU 19-7, including starting on a 9-2 run to take a 60-30 lead after three quarters.
ECU never stopped battling, with the Pirates holding Northwestern to just four points and 1-of-7 (.143) shooting in the last 10 minutes. ECU outscored Northwestern 15-4 in the fourth quarter to leave the final tally at 64-45.
The Pirates finished 17-of-53 (.321) from the floor, 3-of-12 (.250) from three-point range and 8-of-12 (.667) from the free throw line. Northwestern shot 25-of-52 (.481) from the field, 7-of-20 (.350) from beyond the arc and 7-of-18 (.389) from the charity stripe. ECU had a 20-15 advantage in forced turnovers, but Northwestern outscored ECU 20-12 off those miscues.
ECU will be back on the court on Saturday afternoon when the Pirates take on Dayton at 1 p.m., at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
The four Northwestern points in the fourth quarter tie the season-low for an ECU opponent and the Pirates have held a team to four points in a quarter on three occasions.
Thompson leads ECU in scoring for the fifth time this season.
It is the first time that Chambers had led ECU in rebounding in her career. She also made a career-best two free throws in 28 minutes.