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Women’s Basketball Falls Short to Houston

(WITN)
Published: Feb. 4, 2017 at 10:21 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina lost its seventh straight game, 73-62, to Houston Saturday in Minges Coliseum. Bre McDonald had a game-high 26 points, one off her career-best, and led the Pirates with nine rebounds.

A 17-3 run in the first quarter gave Houston the push it needed. The Cougars led by as many as 16 points in the win and out-rebounded ECU 44-29 on the glass. Serithia Hawkins led all players with 14 boards, six of which were offensive.

Despite holding UH scoreless from the field for nine minutes and 50 seconds in the second quarter, the Purple and Gold was unable to capitalize and trailed Houston 30-22 at halftime.

East Carolina shot 39.7 percent from the floor in the loss while Houston was 39.6 percent from field goal range and 46.2 percent from behind the arc. Additionally, Houston made 32 trips to the charity line, connecting on 25 free throws (.781) while ECU was 8-for-12 from the stripe.

Head Coach Heather Macy

Opening Statement:

“I’m really pleased with Bre [McDonald] and Kristen [Gaffney] being able to score the ball as well as they did. We feel comfortably offensively with that. We didn’t value the ball as much as we need to. Nineteen turnovers would be more than what we would prefer but this was not the result that we wanted. Our basketball team has got to grow and get better.”

On Houston’s high volume of points off free throws:

“Well, you can’t guard free throws and they shot 32 of those tonight.”

On the difficult part of the game:

“We have such great kids and it seems like they can’t catch a break. The way that the pace of the basketball game and the way that it is played, you look at it and go, ‘man, they can fight to the end, we’ve made it to an 11-point game.’ I love the heart of the team; I just hate the result right now.”

On the difference she sees in practice and games:

"Well, we’ve had an incredible amount of adversity and we just have not been able to adjust after we’ve lost two players with knee injuries. So, we’ve got to, and the young ones have got to step up and play better. Everybody has kind of shifted over a position and that’s just where we are and what we’ve got to do. Everybody has to respond.”

On Gee and the younger players and the future ahead of them:

“I love her pace and her ability to get to the rim. She does a nice job of drawing to it and finding one. They are playing through losses. They’re playing through injuries and playing in different positions than what we recruited them to play. So, they are resilient. They’ve got to show resilience but they’ve still got to preform and execute at a higher level.”

First Quarter

Houston took a 3-0 lead on an early three-pointer by Angela Harris after winning the opening tipoff but back-to-back jumpers from McDonald and Kristen Gaffney gave East Carolina its first lead of the game, 4-3, at the eight-minute mark. The Pirates carried a 10-4 run into the media timeout to lead 10-7 at the 4:27 mark. Houston regained the lead with a jumper from Jacqueline Blake making it 11-10 in favor of the Cougars. Khadidja Toure hit a trey at 1:30 ending a 10-0 Houston run cutting the score to 17-13, UH. Houston scored seven straight points to end the quarter with a 24-13 lead over the Pirates. The Purple and Gold shot 46.3 percent in the quarter while Houston was 52.6 percent from the field. After making the first five-of-seven shots, ECU connected on just one-of-six during the final four and a half minutes as UH capitalized on a 17-3 run.

Second Quarter

Raven Johnson hit a layup at 9:24 in the second frame to end a 9-0 Houston run bringing the score within 11, 26-15, in favor of the Cougars. Antoinette Bannister drained a deep three-pointer erasing Houston’s double-digit lead at 7:45 and the Pirates forced five Houston turnovers during a five-minute stretch keeping the Cougars lead to 26-18. McDonald hit a jumper at 2:30 to make it a two possession game, 27-22. Houston held a 30-22 lead at halftime despite being held to just one field goal (1-for-9) in the second quarter. The Pirates kept UH scoreless from the field for nine minutes and fifty seconds while forcing nine of Houston’s 10 first half turnovers during the second frame. East Carolina shot 38.5 percent from the field in the first half while Houston shot 39.3 percent and edged ECU 21-12 in rebounds.

Third Quarter

Houston came out of the break with a 7-2 run, urging Coach Macy to call a timeout with 7:17 on the clock to refocus the Pirates. Houston took its largest lead of the game, by 14, with 6:12 on the clock in the third period. A Jumper by McDonald cut the Cougars’ lead to 10, 40-30, at the 5:04 mark. Johnson made it an eight-point game after a layup off the inbound by Toure after the third quarter media timeout. Houston put its lead back to double figures with a fast break layup by Harris at 3:22.

Fourth Quarter

The Cougars fired first in the fourth quarter, extending their lead to the largest of the game thus far, by 15 points. East Carolina cut it to 11 points but Houston quickly brought it to 15 once again with a try by Harris, her second of the game. Fouls plagued the Pirates down the stretch, as ECU sent Houston to the line 18 times in the final quarter where the Cougars made 16 attempts to shoot 88.9 percent from the charity stripe. East Carolina outscored UH 25-23 in the fourth allowing just seven points from the field in the quarter.

Up Next

East Carolina continues its three-game home stand Wednesday night with a 7 o’clock game against USF on ESPN3.