GREENVILLE, N.C. – It was like it was scripted.
The East Carolina women’s basketball team came back from the dead once again after being down 10 points with 11 minutes to play in regulation. The Pirates and Houston then went on to play 26 more minutes of basketball before ECU pulled out an 88-83 win Wednesday night in front of a crowd of over 2,000 at Minges Coliseum Wednesday.
It seems hard to find a single player of the game in a 55-minute, high-stakes American Athletic Conference battle, but any list has to include the woman who played all 55 of those minutes while racking up 12 assists: Micah Dennis. Dennis ran the point with poise all game for the Pirates (20-8, 11-4 AAC) as she tallied the ninth-most assists in a game in program history.
To get to overtime, though, it took another remarkable comeback. Trailing by nine with 2:59 to play in regulation, the Pirates went on a tear going on a 10-1 run to level the game at 62. ECU even had a chance to win it in regular time, but Danae McNeal’s shot fell off the rim. The Pirates have now come back from deficits of 11, nine and 10 to win their last three games and have won six-straight overall, the longest streak since 2014-15.
Overall, the game was as advertised: a physical, defensive-minded matchup that took three overtimes for a team to even reach 88 points. The Pirates and Cougars (10-15, 8-5 AAC) both ranked in the top three nationally in steals per game and delivered to the tune of 25 for ECU and 22 for Houston. Six Pirates recorded multiple takeaways on the day.
In terms of scoring, despite the defense, there was plenty. McNeal ran up another career high with 34 points to pace all scorers, knocking in 13 of her 15 attempts from the charity stripe. Synia Johnson added 16 points and seven boards of her own while adding a trio of steals.
Amiya Joyner also notched another double-double, adding 15 rebounds to her 14 points on the day. The double-double was the seventh in a row for Joyner, tying the longest such streak in program history with Rosie Thompson’s run in 1978-79. Joyner also put up an impressive five blocks to go with five assists. The five blocks tied the 15th most in program history.
Special kudos should be given to Iycez Adams. The sophomore forward absolutely played her heart out, finishing with a career-high 10 rebounds to go with six points, four assists, and a block.
More than individual stats, the game had major team implications. With a win at Tulane on Saturday (or a loss by Memphis in any of their final two games) the Pirates can officially clinch the No. 2 seed in the AAC Tournament.
The Pirates will head to New Orleans for that matchup with the Green Wave on Saturday at 3 p.m.