East Carolina University women’s basketball (8-18, 5-8 AAC) was victorious in a comeback effort on Saturday against Temple University (15-11, 7-6 AAC), winning 56-50 at the final buzzer. The Pirates came into Saturday’s contest with only four conference wins, but looked to make it three in a row against head coach Tonya Cardoza’s tough Owl team.
The Pirates fell behind early in the contest seeing themselves down 22-11 at the end of the first quarter, but did finish the quarter strong with a 6-0 run. Associate head coach Cory McNeill felt that the Pirates' struggles early may have been the result of the squad’s pregame energy.
“We had a rough shootaround this morning; I feel like that contributed to our rough first quarter,” McNeill said.
After the rough first quarter, the Pirates went to work and held the Temple offense to nine points in the second quarter.
From there, defense became the name of the game as the Pirates’ active hands resulted in eight steals and three blocks. The Owls would finish the game with 19 total turnovers compared to ECU’s nine.
Solid defense in the second and third quarters turned into an offensive explosion in the fourth quarter for the Pirates. They would outscore the Owls 23-10 in the fourth and finish off the Owls 56-50.
Saturday’s comeback victory was not the first big comeback the Pirates have had this season as just Wednesday night the Pirates defeated the University of Tulsa (7-19, 2-11 AAC) 59-42 in comeback fashion. The Pirates also won the turnover battle by a wide margin (21-12) against the Golden Hurricanes in similar fashion to that of Saturday’s win against Temple.
ECU head coach Kim McNeill was not able to coach the Pirates in today's victory as she was dealing with a death in the family. Freshman guard and leading scorer, Taniyah Thomspon, spoke on the absence of coach McNeill.
“Coach talked us up. He told us that we were playing for something bigger than what we were playing for. We were playing for coach Kim, we just had to go out there and get the win,” Thompson said.
Thompson certainly played an inspired performance racking up 23 points on 8-of-23 shooting from the field and an impressive 4-of-9 from the three point line.
Getting to the line seemed to be the key to Saturday’s victory, with the Pirates making 12-of-18 at the line and on the defensive side keeping the Owls off the line. Temple would finish 4-of-6 from the line.
Junior guard Lashonda Monk led the Pirates at the line going 7-of-8 and racked up 17 points and eight assists. Most notably, her 1,000 career point came at the line at the end of the game to seal the victory over the Owls.
𝗣𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗮 𝗝𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲𝘆, 𝗣𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗮 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁, 𝗠𝗼𝗻𝗸 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗿𝗼𝗽 𝗯𝘂𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁𝘀💯 pic.twitter.com/aA78OP1yeT— ECU Women’s Basketball (@ECUWomensHoops) February 22, 2020
With Monk and Thompson looking like the clear first and second option for the Pirates, redshirt junior guard/forward Dominique Claytor appeared to be the Pirates very effective third option. Claytor totaled 10 points and 14 rebounds and seems to be the key to success going forward for the Pirates. ECU is now 6-1 when Claytor scores 10 or more points.
The Pirates will head to Tampa, Florida on Tuesday looking to extend their win streak on the road. Tip-off against the University of South Florida (16-11, 8-5 AAC) is scheduled for 7 p.m.