TAMPA, Fla. (ECU) – Three-pointers and free throws were the difference as the ECU women’s basketball team fell 81-52 at USF on Tuesday night.
ECU (8-19, 5-9 AAC) was led by Lashonda Monk who finished with 23 points and tied her career-high with four three-pointers. Taniyah Thompson was the only other Pirates in double-figures, finishing with 16 points and three assists. Dominique Claytor had six points and a team-high eight rebounds for ECU.
USF (17-11, 9-5 AAC) had five players finish in double-figures, headlined by Elena Tsineke’s 19 points and four triples. Shea Leverett had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Sydni Harvey (14), Beatriz Jordao (11) and Elisa Pinzan (10) also had at least 10 points.
ECU finished the first quarter with a lead thanks to sharp-shooting from Monk and Thompson. The pair combined for all 17 ECU points. On the other end, Monk had a pair of steals that led to five ECU points and the Pirates held USF to 0-of-6 from the three-point line. A deep triple at the buzzer from the junior guard put ECU up 17-16 after a quarter of play.
The second quarter was where USF began to pull away, thanks to shots from the three-point arc. The Bulls recovered from their 0-of-6 start and shot 5-of-7 (.714) from beyond the arc, which helped them score 31 points in the second frame, the second-highest point total for an ECU opponent in any quarter this season.
On the other end, ECU’s offense stalled, with Monk and Thompson the only Pirates able to get anything going. Monk added seven more points to give her 16 in the first half, but Thompson’s three points were the only other ECU tallies in the second quarter and the Pirates trailed 47-27 at the half.
USF extended its lead in the third quarter, mainly thanks to success at the free throw line. Jordao had nine points in the frame for the Bulls, shooting 3-of-3 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the free throw line. The Bulls shot 10-of-12 overall from the charity stripe in the third quarter.
Monk kept fighting for ECU. She had seven more points in the quarter, including her fourth triple, to reach 23 points through three. Despite her efforts though, USF led 70-42 after three quarters.
Neither team got much offense going in the fourth quarter, combining for just 22 points. At the final buzzer, South Florida left with an 81-52 win.
ECU finished 20-of-56 (.357) from the floor, 5-of-14 (.357) from beyond the arc and 7-of-14 (.500) from the free throw line. USF was 27-of-65 (.415) from the field, 7-of-21 (.333) from three-point range and 20-of-22 (.909) from the charity stripe. The Bulls outrebounded ECU 50-30 and had a 14-12 edge in turnovers forced.
ECU will return home for its final game in Minges Coliseum of the season. It will be Senior Day for the Pirates on Saturday when they host Tulane at 6 p.m.
It is the first time all season that ECU has turned the ball over more times than its opponent.
Monk has hit four three-pointers three times in her career after tonight’s game.
Katerina Tsineke matched up with her twin sister for the first time in their collegiate careers.
ECU finishes the season 0-4 in the state of Florida, having lost at UCF and USF as well as a pair of games in the West Palm Beach Classic.