UNCASVILLE, Conn. (ECU) – A 15-point halftime deficit was too much for the ECU women’s basketball team to climb out of as the No. 9 seed Pirates fell to No. 8 seed Temple 67-57 in Friday afternoon’s AAC Championship opening round matchup.
The Pirates (9-21) were led by Lashonda Monk who played all 40 minutes and scored 21 points to go with six rebounds, six assists and four steals. She finished her junior campaign with 125 steals, breaking the ECU single-season record as well as the AAC single-season record. Taniyah Thompson had 14 points and seven rebounds for ECU while Tiara Chambers had nine points and eight rebounds.
Temple (16-14) advances to take on top-seed UConn on Saturday afternoon. The Owls were led by Mia Davis, who record a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double. Alexa Williamson had 12 points and seven rebounds while Marissa Mackins hit a trio of three-pointers and finished with 11 points.
Poor shooting for the Pirates combined with 18 first-half points for Davis put ECU in a 40-25 hole after two quarters.
But ECU began to claw its way out in the third quarter. Monk was the driving force behind the effort, scoring six points, handing out three assists and grabbing two steals in the third quarter. On the other end, held Temple to just 26.7% shooting and four turnovers. By the end of the frame, ECU had nearly cut the Temple lead in half, trailing 50-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
At the start of the fourth, ECU continued to push for a comeback. ECU cut the Owls’ lead all the way to five on a pair of occasions, the second when Monk found Chambers for a layup with 5:35 remaining in the game.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, Temple did not allow ECU to get any closer. The Owls rattled off a quick 6-0 run after Chambers’ layup, punctuated by a triple by Mackins, to push the lead back to 11. ECU never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
ECU shot 20-of-71 (.282) from the floor, 5-of-21 (.238) from three and 12-of-23 (.522) from the free throw line while Temple was 23-of-53 (.434) from the field, 5-of-17 (.294) from beyond the arc and 16-of-25 (.640) from the charity stripe. Temple had a 50-40 advantage on the glass and a 32-18 lead in points in the paint while ECU had the edge in turnovers forced, 21-11.