CINCINNATI – After trailing by as many as eleven points in the game, the East Carolina women’s basketball team defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats, 68-57, on Wednesday evening in Fifth Third Arena. The Pirates were led statistically by Danae McNeal with a career-high 30 points and Amiya Joyner with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
If one were to be in the habit of handing out player of the game awards, the award goes not to just one ECU player on Wednesday night. The award goes to the second group of: Alexsia RoseJayla HearpIycez AdamsBobbi Smith and Kimora Jenkins. With the Pirates (18-8, 9-4 AAC) down and out facing a double-digit deficit with 7:57 to play in the third quarter, those five entered the game and ignited a fire.
Though they did not score all the points or get all the stops, Rose, Hearp, Adams, Smith and Jenkins showed immeasurable heart to rally the team – taking the 11-point margin to just six.
When the starters returned to the game four minutes later, they had a different look in their eyes, a fire that had not been there before. McNeal lit the Bearcats (9-16, 2-10 AAC) up for the final frame – dropping 18 of her 30 points in the fourth quarter alone as the Pirates roared to life. Joyner woke up as well, dominating the boards and finding some key baskets of her own as she notched her 11th double-double of the season with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
En route to her 15 boards, Joyner passed two more greats: Rosie Thompson and Marcia Girven and now stands alone at the top of the ECU all-time freshman rebounds list with 208 and counting on the year.
Micah Dennis led the Pirates with five assists and the team scored 36 of their 68 points in the paint – despite McNeal raining in four threes, including three in the second half.
With the win the Pirates move to 9-4 in American Athletic Conference play and will enter the final three games of the regular season with much to play for as the conference tournament looms.
Up Next
The Pirates return home for Senior Day as they host the UCF Knights on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Minges Coliseum.