WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – William and Mary went on a 16-7 run in the final 4:40 to capture an 82-72 non-conference victory over East Carolina Wednesday night inside Kaplan Arena. The Pirates will now turn their attention to American Athletic Conference play which begins Saturday at home.
Team Records: East Carolina: 9-4 | William and Mary: 10-1
The Tribe entered the game allowing just 50.6 points per game, the seventh-best mark in the nation, but ECU went off for 72 against William and Mary’s vaunted defense.
Kristen Gaffney paced East Carolina with 26 points and six rebounds while Bre McDonald netted 14 points of her own. Khadidja Toure also dished out five assists against no turnovers. Abby Rendle led the Tribe with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks to go along with a 27-point performance by Marlena Tremba.
William and Mary knocked down 28 of its 60 attempts (46.7 percent) from the field while ECU converted 27 of 62 (43.5 percent). The Tribe also out-rebounded the Pirates 39-36 and the teams combined for 78 points in the paint. East Carolina’s bench out-worked William and Mary’s reserves to the tune of 16-9 while ECU also held a 16-13 advantage in second-chance points.
Head Coach Heather Macy:
“We did not play the type of basketball we prefer to play. The way we defended in the second half was really disappointing. You have to do a much better job to beat a quality team like William and Mary.
“The game plan was to get Kristen the ball. She had a lot of touches tonight and did a nice job capitalizing on those.”
A layup by Gaffney put the Pirates in front 5-4 at the 8:02 mark, but the Tribe went on an 11-0 run to seize a 13-5 lead with 3:59 remaining in the quarter. ECU answered right back as Gaffney went to work and sparked a 9-0 East Carolina run that gave the Purple and Gold a 14-13 edge with 1:35 on the clock. A triple by Fanni Csutoras and a buzzer-beating jumper from Gaffney left the Pirates with 19-15 lead heading to the second.
A Gaffney jumper less than a minute into the second stanza pushed the ECU advantage to six, but William and Mary answered with eight straight to pull ahead 23-21 with 7:16 left in the half. East Carolina battled back to knot the score at 27 before taking a two-point lead on a jumper by Csutoras. The Pirates enjoyed a 33-30 lead with under 10 seconds to play, however, Alexandra Masaquel threw up a shot that beat the horn and cut the ECU cushion to one at the break.
Tremba began her efficient second half with a triple that pushed the Tribe in front 39-35 at the 8:51 mark before Gaffney and Alex Frazier scored consecutive buckets to deadlock things once more. William and Mary attempted to put some room between itself and the Pirates, but East Carolina would not budge as a pair of Toure free throws forged another tie score at 46. The Tribe raced out to a six-point lead over the next three minutes and the teams traded scores to enter the final period knotted at 54 apiece.
The decisive quarter was a battle throughout the beginning as a triple by McDonald propelled ECU ahead 59-58. McDonald then hit one of two at the line to keep the Pirates within striking distance trailing 66-65 with 4:40 to play. East Carolina could muster just one point in the next four minutes, allowing William and Mary to salt the game away at the charity stripe.
East Carolina welcomes Tulane to Minges Coliseum New Year’s Eve for the beginning of American Athletic Conference play. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.