CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team beat the Liberty Flames 72-64 in the team’s first game of the Cavalier Classic on Saturday at Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena.

The Pirates will be back in action Sunday as they take on the Virginia Cavaliers at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network and online on ACC Network Extra.

Four Pirates scored in double figures on the day, led by Alexsia Rose with 18 while Brittany Franklin notched the second double-double for an ECU player on the season.

The game was one of spurts. The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the Pirates (5-1) edging out to a narrow lead at 20-18. In the second quarter, the team used stellar defense – highlighted by an Amiya Joyner block which forced a shot clock violation and a pair of steals by Rose – and a trio of long-range buckets by Rose to run out to a 12-point lead with under three minutes to play in the period before a rapid 10-0 Liberty run cut the lead back down to 2 at the break.

The Flames (2-3) used their proficiency from downtown to get back into the game, though, knocking down five first-half triples.

The Pirates locked in further defensively in the third quarter, holding Liberty to only seven points – including allowing not a solitary single Flames field goal for the final 7:29 of the period. ECU scored 11 of their own in the quarter to push the margin to six. The Pirates did so largely through the offensive glass where the team collected nine offensive rebounds and scored nine second-chance points in the third.

In the second half, though, the story was simple: Brittany Franklin reminded everyone why she’s here. Franklin was, simply put, phenomenal. In only 11:40 minutes, she collected 10 rebounds and scored put the ball in the basket with confidence scoring 11 points. Four of Franklin’s rebounds came on the offensive glass.

Not to stop with simply offense, the senior forward blocked a pair of shots and recorded a steal in the second half of the ballgame. In a moment when ECU was looking for a spark in a close game, they found it in Franklin.

Down the stretch, the Pirates put the game away from the charity stripe. With Liberty forced into difficult positions, ECU earned 20 shots from the foul line in the fourth quarter and converted 16 of them. 38 free throw attempts on the game are the most for ECU since Dec. 13, 2013 in a contest against Alcorn State.

The Pirates outrebounded a typically dominant rebounding team 45-44, including a whopping 24 offensive boards which resulted in 25 second-chance points for the game. The team scored 23 points off turnovers while coughing up the ball only seven times themselves – the lowest total in a game since March 12, 2014 against Florida International..

The win moves the Pirates to 5-1 on the season, the program’s best start since 2018-19 when the team got off to the same record through six games.