GREENVILLE, N.C. – Against the best defensive team in the AAC, the East Carolina women’s basketball team ran out of gas down the stretch, falling to UCF 52-43 on Saturday afternoon.
East Carolina drops to 7-7 on the season with an 0-1 AAC record while UCF improves to 10-2 overall with a 2-0 league mark.
How It Happened
- East Carolina was playing its first game in 17 days, but there were few signs of rust in the early going. The Pirates held UCF scoreless for the first 5:34 of the game. Over that span, ECU scored 11 points of its own, led by four from Tylar Bennett.
- UCF answered in the second half of the first quarter, going on a 7-2 run. Brittney Smith did most of the damage for the Knights, scoring fives. But East Carolina still led 13-7 after one frame.
- In the second quarter, UCF’s defensive pressure began to pay off. The Pirates shot just 3-of-9 (.333) and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. UCF was able to shoot 7-of-16 (.438) on its offensive end and outscore ECU 15-8 to take a slight 22-21 lead into halftime.
- The Pirates came out of the locker room reenergized. Taniyah Thompson led the way, as the Pirates’ leading scorer grabbed nine points, including a triple at the 3:24 mark that staked ECU to a 34-27 lead.
- Unfortunately for the Pirates, ECU’s offense mustered just one more field goal the rest of the quarter, while the Knights’ caught fire. UCF outscored ECU 12-2 behind five points from both Masseny Kaba and Diamond Battles to regain a 39-36 lead.
- The early part of the fourth quarter saw neither team able to get anything going on the offensive end. A pair of free throws from Battle made it a five point UCF lead, but a layup from Alexsia Rose and then a fast break layup by Synia Johnson made it 41-40 with 7:52 remaining.
- The UCF defense showed why it is second in the country in points allowed as the Knights clamped down on the Pirates. After Johnson’s layup, ECU did not score again until a free throw from Johnson with 43 seconds remaining. UCF led 50-41 at that point as a three-pointer by Alisha Lewis was the dagger.
- Tylar Bennett was the defensive anchor for the Pirates, as the graduate student blocked seven shots and grabbed 11 rebounds. Bennett becomes just the fourth player in East Carolina history to block seven shots in a single-game and it is tied for the third-most in a single game. The 11 rebounds are also a season-high for Bennett while she added four points and four assists.
- Raven Johnson finished with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, giving the graduate student her first double-double since the season-opener of the 2019-20 campaign.
- Thompson led the Pirates with 13 points, but saw her streak of four straight games with at least 20 points come to an end.
- Tiara Chambers blocked one shot to give her 74 in her Pirate career, placing her in sole possession of ninth on the all-time blocks list.
The Pirates will hit the road for a pair of games. First up will be a trip to Tulsa for a Tuesday night battle before heading to SMU for a Thursday matinee.