After falling behind in the early going, the ECU women’s basketball team could not recover and fell to Tulsa 75-55 on Saturday afternoon inside Minges Coliseum.
For ECU (10-6, 1-2), the Pirates struggled to shoot the ball, finishing 22-of-74 (.297) from the floor, the worst shooting percentage at home for ECU this season. Raven Johnson led the team with 17 points on 7-of-12 (.583) shooting while Lashonda Monk (11) and Alex Frazier (10) both reached double figures in the scoring column. Frazier added 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Justice Gee led ECU with five assists and also tied her career-high with eight rebounds.
On Wednesday evening, ECU started off its win over Wichita State with a 7-0 run. On Saturday, the Pirates were on the other end of a game-opening run, as Tulsa (9-7, 3-0) took a 14-0 lead. The Golden Hurricanes scored on all six of their first possessions, including hitting a pair of threes to take the commanding lead.
Although Tulsa took that early lead, it was not a knockout blow for ECU. After acting head coach Nicole Mealing took a timeout, Monk hit a jumper to get ECU on the scoreboard. After a Justice Gee three-pointer got ECU closer, Tulsa answered with a layup at the 4:52 mark of the first quarter. For the next four minutes, ECU was able to hold Tulsa to just five free throws. With the score at 20-6, ECU went on an 8-0 run. It started with a Necole Hope layup and then Frazier hit a pair of free throws. Two consecutive layups from Johnson had ECU back within six. Although Tulsa scored the next three points, the deficit was again cut to six on a Hope triple with just seven seconds left in the first quarter. But the ECU momentum stalled when Tulsa’s Rebecca Lescay hit a three-pointer from behind half-court as time expired.
In the second quarter, Tulsa maintined a double-digit lead for the majority of the frame. ECU did cut the lead to seven, as a Johnson layup followed by a Monk three-pointer made the score 34-37. But an 8-0 run consisting of a pair of shots from behind the arc and a mid-range jumper, restored Tulsa’s cushion heading into the second half.
Trailing by 16 heading into the third quarter, ECU could not muster enough offense to make a run at the Golden Hurricanes. In the third frame, ECU scored on consecutive possessions just once and it was the only time in the period that the Pirates strung together more than a 2-0 run.
With its hopes on life support as ECU trailed 60-43 with 10 minutes left, the Pirates gained a bit of hope with a 7-2 run. Monk opened the quarter with a three and after two Tulsa free throws, Frazier and Monk both hit mid-range jumpers. That run came to an end after a Tulsa timeout, with the Golden Hurricanes rattling off a 10-0 run on three layups and a shot from behind the arc.
Tulsa outrebounded ECU 58-41 and outscored ECU 34-26 in the paint. ECU, which averages 12.1 steals and 23.4 forced turnovers per game, recorded just eight steals and forced 12 Tulsa turnovers.
For Tulsa, Crystal Polk dominated in the paint and on the glass, as she finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Desiree Lewis supported her with 16 points and 13 rebounds of her own, including nine offensive rebounds. Alexis Gaulden just missed a double-double of her own, scoring 12 points to go with nine rebounds.
The Pirates will have a week to recover, as their next game comes on Saturday, Jan. 19 when ECU travels to Memphis.