Kristine Mial led a quartet of double-figure scorers for No. 2 seed East Carolina as the Pirates trounced No. 10 seed Southern Miss, 89-60, in the Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Quarterfinals at the Tulsa Convention Center Thursday night.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 22-8 on the year and advance to the semifinals against No. 6 seed and host Tulsa at the BOK Center. Southern Miss concludes its season with a 15-16 overall record.
Days after being named the Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year, Mial came off the bench and poured in 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals, a trio of assists and one block while shooting 57.1-percent from the field (8-for-14). The junior forward led the Pirates in both scoring and rebounding in the contest.
The Pirates' 89 points marked their highest scoring output of the season as ECU used a balanced offensive attack from Mial, Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards, and Kyani White. Britny Edwards contributed 16 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and one block, while Whitny Edwards turned in a 12-point performance with seven boards, three steals and one assist. White matched her career-high with 12 points and added a team-leading five assists, a team-best four steals, and three rebounds as she went 4-for-5 from the field to shoot 80-percent.
"I'm really proud of this team," Head Coach Heather Macy said. "Kristine came out and executed well and really set the tone for the game. She was just one rebound away from a double-double. She has given so much day in and day out. I'm really proud of her."
The Pirates were down early in the game as they trailed the Golden Eagles 5-8 at the 17-minute mark. However, a jumper by White sparked a 12-0 run from ECU that would put the Pirates up 17-8 at 13:21. From that point on, ECU never looked back as it went on to lead by as many as 13 points in the first half (38-25) and went into the locker room at half time with a 38-29 advantage.
ECU continued its offensive attack in the second half as the Pirates extended their lead to 20 at 10:15 and never let the Golden Eagles get any closer. The Pirates went on to defeat Southern Miss, 89-60.
As a team, East Carolina hit 47.3-percent of its field goals (35-for-74), including a 19-for-37 showing in the second half to shoot 51.4-percent. The Pirates held a 45-35 rebounding advantage, turned 20 offensive rebounds into 18 second chance points and outscored the Golden Eagles in the paint 42-28. In addition, ECU forced 22 turnovers – including 15 via steal – and scored 15 points off the miscues.
Southern Miss' Jamierra Faulkner led all players in scoring with 18 points, while Niesha Pierce tallied a career-high 11. Faulkner also added eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals.
The Pirates will return to the court Friday, March 15, when they take on No. 6 seed Tulsa at the BOK Center at 1:30 p.m. (ET). The contest will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network. Live stats will also be available on ECUPirates.com.
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