Pirates Hold On To Top Houston 53-50

Sports

Carolina Hurricanes

GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Athletics)– What once looked like a comfortable win ended up coming down to the final possession, but the ECU women’s basketball team held on to beat Houston 53-50 on Saturday afternoon in Minges Coliseum.

ECU (5-17, 2-7 AAC) won its second straight game at home and had four players score in double-figures in both of those wins. Lashonda MonkDominique Claytor and Ryann Evans all had 12 points to lead the Pirates while Taniyah Thompson finished with 11 points. Monk added seven assists and seven steals while Claytor had nine rebounds for the third time in four games. Evans added seven boards of her own.

Houston (12-12, 5-5 AAC) was led by Dorian Branch, who finished with 22 points. Tatyana Hill had her second straight double-double against the Pirates, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Bria Patterson finished with 10 points. Julia Blackshell-Fair had just two points, but handed out nine assists for the Cougars.

Through the first three quarters, the ECU defense had been stifling. The Pirates allowed Houston to shoot just 12-of-41 (.293) from the field during the first three quarters and forced 23 Cougar turnovers. That helped ECU build a 42-27 lead with just 8:33 to go.

Although Houston cut into the lead, thanks to seven points from Patterson and four points from Branch, a layup by Thompson at the 2:33 mark put ECU up 48-38.

From there though, the Pirates had to hold on for dear life. Branch hit a three and then Hill made a pair of free throws on the next possession to cut the lead to five. Monk was fouled on a jumper with 1:18 to go and made two free throws of her own, but Branch came down and nailed a triple to get Houston within four.

After an ECU turnover, Branch found Hill for a layup and it was a one possession game. The Cougars got a stop and had a chance to tie the game, but had an unforced turnover to give ECU the ball again.

Monk was fouled with just 18 seconds to go and made her first free throw and missed the second, but ECU was able to control the rebound. Evans was then fouled and she made one of two to push the lead to four. After a Houston miss, Evans grabbed her seventh rebound and was once again sent to the free throw line. When Evans hit one-of-two, ECU led by five with just 11 seconds remaining.

However, Houston made sure that lead was not comfortable for the Pirates. Blackshell-Fair made a running jumper with three seconds left and then the Cougars forced ECU into a turnover, giving Houston the ball with a chance to tie. Branch got free in the corner and thought she had the game-tying shot, but Tiara Chambers flew out to swat it away, preserving the win for the Pirates.

ECU shot 21-of-56 (.375) from the floor, 2-of-9 (.222) from three and 9-of-20 (.450) from the free throw line while Houston was 20-of-58 (.345) from the field, 6-of-25 (.240) from beyond the arc and 4-of-11 (.364) at the charity stripe. The Pirates forced 29 Houston turnovers and had 16 steals while Houston had a 47-31 advantage on the glass.

ECU will make its second trip of the season to the state of Texas when the Pirates take on SMU in Dallas. That game is scheduled to tipoff at 8 p.m., on Tuesday night.  

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