The buzz outside Minges Coliseum was unmistakeable Tuesday night as fans piled into the arena to see if the East Carolina women’s basketball team could snap the 93-game win streak of the No. 1 ranked Connecticut Huskies; instead, they were treated to the Gabby Williams show.
The junior guard for the Huskies made history in their 91-44 victory of ECU, as she became just the fifth player in UConn history to record a triple-double. Williams torched the toughest Pirates’ defense all season for 16 points, 16 rebounds — 10 offensive — and 10 assists.
"Well, the tough part is that we defended so well, and then you give up an offensive rebound,” ECU head coach Heather Macy said. “That's pretty deflating, but there's a lot of positive moments that we can definitely point to on the defensive end."
However, Williams wasn’t the only one to make history in Greenville. Fellow guard Kia Nurse, a preseason All-American, scored her 1,000th point in the third quarter during a UConn 23-point run. Along with individual accolades, the Huskies matched the longest road win streak in collegiate, and team, history with 34 consecutive victories.
Even though the final score may indicate a one-sided game, there were stretches of great play for the Pirates. While trailing by 21 points in the second quarter, the Pirates went on a major run to bring the four-time defending champions within twelve. Ignited by the hustle of freshman Justice Gee, who had a career-high eight points, and a raucous East Carolina fan base, ECU scored nine straight points to cut the lead to 32-20 with two minutes left in the half.
“Justice came in and was super aggressive and that was my message,” Macy said. “I told them that if we're going to make errors, we want to make errors at being too aggressive.”
But like any great champion, the team countered with a run of its own to silence the crowd for good. UConn closed the quarter on a 14-4 run while scoring the final eight points going into halftime. The 22-point margin was the second closest halftime deficit ECU has ever faced against the Huskies, 46-24.
Earlier this month when the two teams faced off in Connecticut it was the third quarter that really put the game away. UConn won that third quarter 26-8, and went on to win the game 90-45. This time, the Huskies won the quarter 26-6, and went on to win the game by two more points than the last meeting.
"It was how Minges Coliseum needs to be every single night, right? That's what you shoot for and what our goal is,” Macy said.
Kristen Gaffney was the only Pirate to score in double-figures with 13 points. Despite giving
up several inches to the Connecticut forwards, Gaffney corralled seven rebounds. Gee scored all eight of her points in the second quarter on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting, but missed one shot in the second half.
Up next for the Pirates is a trip to Tulane where they will look to win their second conference game of the season. Tip off is scheduled for 8 p.m.