UNCASVILLE, Conn. (ECU Media Relations) – The East Carolina women’s basketball team’s 2015-16 season came to a close in a 92-51 defeat at the hands of top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Connecticut in the quarterfinals of the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Payne shot 6-for-15 overall for 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, while I’Tiana Taylor added 14 points and five boards. Marina Laramie added nine points, five rebounds and led all players with a career-high five steals.
Payne finishes the season with 625 points – the second most in a single season in ECU history – and concludes her career with 2,029 overall.
UConn placed five scorers in double-figures, led by Morgan Tuck and Katie Lou Samuelson’s 16 points apiece, while Breanna Stewart had 15 points and eight rebounds. Gabby Williams added 14 points, a game-high nine rebounds and four steals in 19 minutes off the bench, while Kia Nurse chipped in 13 points.
East Carolina (13-19, 6-12 AAC) got a three from Laramie on its first possession of the game and a layup by Taylor to keep the deficit at just one, 6-5, but the Huskies scored eight-straight points to create a 14-5 advantage and force the Pirates into using their first timeout with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter.
Connectiut (30-0, 18-0 AAC) would keep its offense rolling and force ECU into taking tough shots before opening up a 26-9 advantage on a three-point play by Stewart with 2:48 to go.
Leading 32-13 heading into the second quarter, UConn continued to push the pace and get fast break points in the paint and opened up a 40-15 lead down to the 7:43 mark. The Pirates were able to get a handful of stops, but could not execute on the offensive end of the court, as the Huskies would close the first half with a 9-0 run over the final 5:05 to take a 52-22 lead into the halftime intermission.
East Carolina shot 9-for-28 (.321) from the field, 2-for-10 (.200) beyond the three-point line and made both of its two free throw attempts in the first half, while UConn shot 23-for-40 (.575) on the floor, 4-for-8 (.500) from three and made two of its three shots at the foul line.
The Pirates scored the first five points of the second half on a three by DeVaughn Gray and a jump-shot by Payne, but Connecticut countered that quick surge with five points of their own to keep the margin at 30 points with 6:52 left in the third quarter. The ECU deficit grew as large as 36 in the period, as the Huskies held a 74-38 lead after 30 minutes of action.
UConn extended its advantage to more than 40 points early in the fourth quarter and held its largest advantage of the game – 45 points – with the score 92-47 and 1:53 remaining on the game clock, before closing out the 41-point victory.
East Carolina finished the day shooting 19-for-52 (.365) overall, 4-for-16 (.250) from three-point range and went a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line, while the Huskies shot 41-for-69 (.594) from the field, 6-for-15 (.400) beyond the arc and 4-for-6 (.667) at the foul stripe. They shot18-for-29 (.621) as a team in the second half alone.
UConn owned a 42-20 rebounding advantage and handed out 25 assists, while outscoring ECU, 64-14, in the paint, 29-19 off turnovers, 13-4 on second chance baskets, 16-4 on the fast break and 24-0 off the bench.