In the final game of the regular season, the ECU women’s basketball team topped SMU 67-61 inside Minges Coliseum on Monday night.
The game served as Senior Night for the Pirates as ECU (15-14, 6-10 AAC) honored Alex Frazier, Destiny Campbell, Desiree Corbin and Salita Greene before their final game inside Minges Coliseum. With the win, ECU finishes the regular season in a tie for seventh place in the American as well as assuring a record above .500 for the second straight season.
“It meant everything to me, just seeing them (the seniors) grow as people in general and you want them to succeed,” said acting head coach Nicole Mealing. “They’re all leaders and I just appreciate all of their hard work and dedication to this program every single day.”
Campbell and Frazier were two of ECU’s leaders on the offensive end, as they finished with 16 and 17 points respectively. Campbell also added three blocks and five rebounds. Lashonda Monk led the Pirates with 19 points as well as adding four assists and five steals. With those five steals, Monk now has 114 steals this season, the second-highest total in ECU history.
SMU (11-18, 5-11) had four players score in double-figures, led by Kayla White’s 17. Johnasia Cash and Paige Bayliss both had 14 points while Alicia Froling had 10 points. The Mustangs had a 36-31 edge in rebounding and had 17 assists on their 24 field goals.
After a tightly contested first quarter, ECU took a commanding lead in the second quarter. The Pirates held SMU to just six points in the second frame and the Mustangs shot 2-of-12 (.167) from the floor. Including the final two minutes of the first quarter when the two teams were tied at 11, ECU finished the first half on a 25-10 run and scored the final eight points. The Pirates led 36-21 heading into the break, the largest ECU halftime lead of the season.
In the third quarter, SMU was nearly unstoppable. The Mustangs shot 10-of-12 (.833) in the quarter and made a pair of triples. For most of the quarter, ECU had an answer for SMU’s hot shooting, as Frazier and Monk each had a steal turn into a layup at the other end while Campbell also added a jumper. A Justice Gee jumper with 1:17 remaining in the quarter put ECU up 12. However, SMU rattled off a quick 7-0 run on four points from Bayliss and a White triple, cutting the lead to just five.
In the fourth quarter, the trio of Campbell, Monk and Frazier made sure ECU held onto the lead. The pair combined for 15 of ECU’s 17 points in the quarter and 25 of ECU’s 31 points in the second half. The most important sequence came with just under five minutes remaining. Four straight points from Bayliss narrowed ECU’s lead to four points. ECU answered when Johnson found Tamia Hicks under the basket for a layup. After an ECU stop, Gee found Campbell rolling to the hoop for another layup. After one Mustang free throw, Campbell turned from scorer to provider, setting up Frazier for a layup to push the lead to nine once again. SMU did not get closer than six again until there was only 29 seconds remaining. The Pirates made four free throws in the final minute to make sure the Mustangs never had a chance to tie the score.
ECU finished the game 25-of-58 (.431), the second straight game they shot over 40%. The Pirates made a season-low one three-point field goal, but made up for it by shooting 16-of-20 (.800) from the free throw line as well as scoring 32 points in the paint and 16 points off turnovers.
The Pirates will next head to Uncasville, Conn., for the AAC Championship. ECU will open play on Friday in a first-round matchup.