ECU women race past Cincinnati, 77-55

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CINCINNATI – Jada Payne moved into third place on the program’s all-time scoring list and Marina Laramie registered her fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 31 points and season-high 11 rebounds, as the East Carolina women’s basketball team picked up 77-55 American Athletic Conference road win at Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

Payne finished the night with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting with six rebounds and four assists, while Laramie shot 10-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-4, from three-point range. I’Tiana Taylor compiled her conference-leading 15th double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 boards while adding four assists.

Ana Owens led the Bearcats with 17 points, while Jasmine Whitfield added 12 points and Alyesha Lovett chipped in 10 more.

Seven was a common number on East Carolina’s (11-17, 5-11 AAC) team stat-line, as the Pirates made seven shots in the first seven minutes of the game while pulling down seven offensive rebounds in a fast-paced first quarter. ECU was able to open a 14-8 advantage on a layup by Payne with 2:35 left in the first quarter. The Bearcats would close the period with five-straight points as the purple and gold held a one-point edge through 10 minutes of action.

Cincinnati (8-19, 4-12 AAC) was unable to carry any of its momentum into the second quarter, as Laramie took over with 10 points and Taylor added eight of her own in the period.

After a three by Laramie and a layup by Taylor in the first 70 seconds of the frame, Payne sunk a three-pointer at the 7:39 mark to increase the Pirates’ lead to 22-15, move her total to nine in the game and pass LaCoya Terry’s (2005-09) total of 1,648 career points for the No. 3 spot on the program’s all-time scoring list. Payne also moved into sole possession of second place on the school’s three-point field goal chart.

East Carolina pushed its lead to as many as 11 after a layup by Taylor with 2:51 made it 33-22. A Cincinnati three-pointer and pair of free throws by Laramie with 1:26 to go sent the Pirates to the locker rooms with a 35-25 advantage at halftime.

ECU shot 15-for-37 (.405) overall, 3-for-9 (.333) at the three-point line and made both of its two free throw attempts in the first half, while the Bearcats shot 10-for-29 (.345) on the floor, 2-for-8 (.250) from beyond the arc and 3-for-6 (.500) at the foul line.

Both sides exchanged baskets to start the second half, as the Pirates outscored Cincinnati, 22-15, in the period behind seven points by Payne, to extend the advantage further, 57-40, at the end of the third quarter.

East Carolina created its first 20-point lead of the game on a layup by Laramie with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter to increase the margin to 67-46. Laramie would knock down all four free throw attempts she took in the final 1:11, the last coming with 37 seconds remaining to create the largest lead of the game – 26 points- with the score 77-51.

ECU finished the night shooting 28-for-59 (.475) overall, 5-for-16 (.313) from three-point range and 16-for-20 (.800) at the free throw line, while Cincinnati shot 21-for-61 (.344) from the field, 3-for-18 (.167) beyond the arc and 10-for-13 (.769) at the stripe.

The Pirates owned a 44-27 rebounding advantage and outscored the Bearcats, 36-28, in the paint and 12-6 on second chance baskets. Cincinnati owned a 20-10 advantage in points off turnovers.

East Carolina will play its final road contest of the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27 when it travels to Memphis. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast on the American Digital Network.

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