GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team got back in the win column with a 69-51 win over the VCU Rams on Sunday in Minges Coliseum.
Danae McNeal led all scorers as the Pirates used their signature pressure defense to smother VCU.
The Pirates (6-3) jumped out early in the contest, racing to a 16-2 lead just six minutes into the game en route to a 27-8 first quarter. McNeal was excellent in the period, scoring nine points and knocking down a pair of triples. Freshmen Jayla Hearp and Bobbi Smith also hit from deep as ECU found the offensive burst it had been missing the last two games.
Though the game tightened in the second quarter, the Pirates still managed 18 points in the period to maintain a healthy 16-point lead going into the break. The 45 team’s points scored in the first half was the most for ECU since Dec. 19, 2021 against UNCW when the team scored 46.
In the third quarter, ECU’s defense took charge. Virginia Commonwealth (3-6) managed only three points in the quarter as the Pirates forced 11 turnovers – including six by the Rams’ Sarah Te-Biasu. Te-Biasu entered the game as VCU’s leading scorer at 16.0 points per game but was shut down by the Pirates, scoring only six points and racking up eight turnovers as the ECU defense applied near-constant pressure to the junior guard.
The Pirates led by as much as 23 in the third, thanks to a six-minute 9-0 run, and wound up taking a 22-point margin into the final 10 minutes of action. Though VCU won the final period 19-15, it was far too little, far too late.
The Rams turned the ball over six more times in the fourth, accumulating 30 on the day. ECU turned the 30 takeaways into 30 points of their own while also racking up a matching 30 points in the paint.
In all, 10 players scored for East Carolina, including six who tallied seven-or-more points. That scoring added up, giving the Pirates a 27-25 margin in bench production. Ultimately, the only real area of tumult for the team was at the charity stripe where the Pirates hit only 14 of their 25 free throw attempts.
- With two blocks on the day, Tiara Chambers now has 90 on her career, moving up to alone in sixth most in a career in program history. Chambers had a strong game overall, too, with eight points, six rebounds and a remarkable seven fouls drawn.
- McNeal scored 17 points while adding four rebounds and a pair of assists.
- Synia Johnson put up a strong line of seven points, seven boards and five steals.
The Pirates are back in action in Minges Coliseum on Tuesday at 6 p.m. as they take on Maryland Eastern Shore.