GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team defeated the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs 71-35 on Monday in Minges Coliseum. The season-opening win represents the largest margin of victory for the Pirates since a 41-point trouncing of N.C. Central last season.
The Pirates got off to a hot start Monday, scoring the first nine points of the contest before jumping out to a 15-2 lead. ECU never looked back, taking the first quarter by a 24-9 margin.
Despite a drop in scoring, the Pirates allowed only three points in the entirety of the second quarter, holding South Carolina State to just 1-11 from the field and 0-7 from deep while pusing the margin to 22. Danae McNeal led the way during the dominant opening half, en route to a 14-point, four-rebound, two-steal performance.
The second half was more of the same as the Pirates continued to extend the lead, blowing the game open further with a 27-point third quarter. Still, it was a defensive showcase for East Carolina, forcing turnovers on the Lady Bulldogs’ first three possessions of the half to force coach Timothy Eatman to call for timeout.
Leading that defensive effort, Alexsia Rose stole the ball five times as a part of a 20-steal outing for ECU, tied for 10th most in a game in program history. In total, eight Pirates registered a steal, with six tallying multiple takeaways. When they weren’t stealing it, ECU was still forcing turnovers, 39 in total, and scoring 40 points off of those turnovers – including 27 fast-break points. 39 turnovers forced is the most since Nov. 8, 2013 agaisnt Virginia Intermont. Graduate forward Tiara Chambers added three blocks to the effort which saw a sub-30 percent shooting clip for South Carolina State.
That’s not to say there wasn’t offense, though, as the Pirates rolled out a new-look scoring attack. With a more evenly-spread approach, four players scored in double figures: McNeal, Amiya Joyner, Synia Johnson, and Jayla Hearp.
It was a much-awaited debut for the freshman big, Joyner. After a foul-trouble-plagued first half, Joyner came alive in the second, finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in 18 minutes played.
In all, 13 ECU players saw the court Monday night, with no player recording more than 25-minutes played. 11 players scored and 10 recorded assists, with five recording three helpers.
The Pirates return to action in Minges Coliseum on Thursday for a 6 p.m. tipoff against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Tickets can be purchased here and the game will be available for streaming on ESPN+.