Women's Basketball PHOTO

Junior guard Taniyah Thompson dribbles through contact against Georgia.

After back-to-back losses to start the season, the East Carolina University women’s basketball team (1-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) earned their first victory of the year against Gardner-Webb University (0-3, 0-0 Big South Conference) on Nov. 15 with a final score of 81-52.

The Pirates got their first win of the season at home in Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum. A crowd showed out to see the ECU women’s team snap their two-game losing streak and head coach Kim McNeill said she is glad to see Pirate Nation return to the stands.

“I’m just really excited about getting people back in Minges. You know last year with COVID, we were limited on the amount of people that could come and support us,” McNeill said. “I’m just excited to get the crowd back, get it loud. My goal is to make Minges a home-court advantage for us and opponents hating coming to play us at Minges.” 

In the first quarter, ECU won the tip and put the first points on the board with a layup from junior guard Taniyah Thompson. Gardner-Webb responded with a three-point shot to make the score 3-2, but Pirate junior guard Danae McNeal hit a two-point jumper to regain the lead. After a free throw from Thompson and another jumper from McNeal, the lead was 7-3 in favor of the Pirates.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs hit a jumper to bring it to 5-7, but McNeal hit another two-point jumper to extend the lead five minutes into the first quarter. Both teams played a defensive game, not allowing a lot of buckets early. However, as more shots began to fall, the score came to an ECU lead of 13-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

To start the second, both teams exchanged layups followed by a GW three-point shot. The score was 12-15 for ECU when Gardner-Webb began to hit shots. The Pirates found themselves fighting to keep up with the Bulldogs as both teams exchanged shots. Gardner-Webb outscored the Pirates 22-15 in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 29-28 lead. 

ECU turned it up both on offense and defense in the second half, outscoring the opponent 33-16 and 22-7 in the third and fourth quarter respectively. GW started with the ball but the first to score in the second half was Thompson with a layup. After a few buckets were exchanged, a two-point jumper from Thompson forced GW to call a timeout with ECU in the lead 36-31.

Immediately after the timeout, McNeal hit a three-point jumper to bring the score to 39-31, but GW went on a 9-0 scoring run to bring the score to 40-39 Bulldogs. After an exchange of layups, ECU scored six unanswered points and led 51-42 with two minutes left in the third. After several foul calls and free throws, the quarter ended with a Pirate lead of 59-45.

The fourth quarter opened up with a layup from the Runnin’ Bulldogs, but a 10-0 scoring run from the Pirates expanded the lead to 69-47. The Pirates only allowed their opponent to score five more points while increasing the lead to 81-52 for the final score. 

McNeal led the Pirates in scoring with 23, followed by Thompson who finished with 21 points. McNeal rounded out her statline with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Graduate student guard also finished in double figures with 11 points.

The Pirates return to the court on Nov. 18 at home against Hampton University (1-2, 0-0 Big South) in an attempt for a second win at home.

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