Second half surge helps ECU women's basketball top SMU

Published: Feb. 14, 2019 at 10:54 PM EST
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A third-quarter surge helped the ECU women’s basketball team win its first road game of the season as the Pirates topped SMU 64-54 on Thursday night inside Moody Coliseum.

ECU (13-11, 4-7 AAC) scored 22 points off of 24 SMU turnovers and had four players score in double figures, led by Raven Johnson’s 18 points. Lashonda Monk finished with 10 points, five rebounds, eight assists and six steals while Ariyana Williams (11 points) and Alex Frazier (10 points) also scored in double figures. Salita Greene set a new career-high with 14 rebounds to go along with seven points. It was the first road win of the season for the Pirates and is the third win in four games overall.

SMU (8-16, 2-9 AAC) was led by Alicia Froling, who finished with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and nine rebounds. Also reaching double figures was Johnasia Cash (11 points) and Ariana Whitfield (10 points). The Mustangs used their size to outrebound ECU 47-39 and outscored the Pirates 40-34 in the paint.

The first half was mostly a defensive battle, as the Pirates shot just 11-of-34 (.320) in the first 20 minutes while SMU shot 10-of-29 (.340) and the teams combined to make just a single three.

ECU led 12-8 at the end of the first, mainly thanks to seven Mustang turnovers that led to eight ECU points. Monk racked up three steals in the opening frame and was one of five Pirates to score.

In the second, Froling began to get rolling. The senior scored the first four points of the period to tie the score at 12. Although ECU never trailed, as Frazier and Monk hit consecutive jumpers to regain the lead, the teams were tied once again at 18-18. ECU went on a quick 7-2 run as the half neared a close, but Froling finished the half with a steal and layup to cut ECU’s lead to 25-22 at the half.

After the break, the offenses began to come to life. ECU started the half on a 7-0 run, sparked by five points from Williams. The Mustangs battled back with a 14-5 run, making six layups during that stretch.

With ECU’s lead cut to just one, the Pirates clamped down to finish the quarter. Green put back an offensive rebound and was fouled on the attempt, completing the three-point play. Greene added another layup off a pass from Monk and then a Monk steal led to a Johnson layup. The run continued with a Destiny Campbell jumper followed by two Monk free throws. Finally, Johnson picked off an SMU pass and was fouled, making one of her two free throws. When the dust settled, ECU had rattled off a 12-0 run and led 49-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

ECU continued its run in the fourth quarter, as a Johnson three and a Monk layup put ECU up 18, the largest lead of the game. SMU though had one run left. The Mustangs went on a 7-0 run which was finally stopped by a Frazier jumper. The run extended to 10-2 after Kayla White made the first of two free throws. White missed the second though and on the other end, Monk found Williams open for a three, restoring order.

From Williams’ three, ECU never allowed SMU closer than 10 points, which did not come until there was just 1:06 remaining in the game.

ECU shot 15-of-36 (.420) from the floor in the second half and 5-of-9 (.560) from three. The Pirates outscored SMU 23-13 in transition and 19-13 in second-chance points while the Mustangs had a 43-15 edge in bench points.

The Pirates will finish their Texas road trip on Saturday afternoon in Houston. Tipoff for the game is scheduled for 1 p.m., Eastern inside the Fertitta Center.