Courtesy of Charles Welch East Carolina Athletics:
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team found itself down 18 points with six minutes left in its 2010 WNIT opener at Drexel Friday evening, but a stunning rally, in which the Lady Pirates outscored the Dragons 25-7 to force overtime, allowed ECU to grab a 78-76 win at the Daskalakis Center. The Lady Pirates improve to 23-10 overall while Drexel ends its season at 17-14.
The victory gives East Carolina its second-ever postseason win and first that was not in a consolation round. The Lady Pirates also drew within one win of tying the program single season record.
“This is absolutely unbelievable and I am speechless,” head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener stated. “I am just incredibly proud of the fight our team showed and how they just didn’t quit despite the large deficit.”
Drexel popped out to a 14-8 lead on a pair of three-point field goals in the first eight minutes. When the Dragons extended the lead to 10 at 20-10 on a Kamile Nacickaite jumper, ECU held Drexel scoreless for the next 6:04 to claw back to within 20-19. That one-point margin would stick at halftime as the Dragons outscored the Lady Pirates 7-6 the rest of the half.
Gabriela Marginean led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 11 points while East Carolina was paced by Chareya Smith with six. Kim Gay had a team-high five rebounds and Allison Spivey registered four assists.
The Lady Pirates outshot Drexel 40-32 percent in the period while also holding the advantage on the glass 20-15. but were hindered by 11 turnovers.
The Dragons came out firing in the second half, outscoring ECU 20-7 until the 11:37 mark to take a commanding 47-33 lead. Drexel would seem to put the game away from beyond the arc, but the Lady Pirates rallied all the way back to within one at 62-61 with a minute remaining. Jean Best then came up big, hitting two free throws with five seconds left to send the contest into an improbable overtime.
Jasmina Rosseel hit a triple at the 3:29 mark of the overtime to go up 71-68, but an Ashley Clarke layup capped an 8-0 run that put the visitors ahead 76-71 with 36 seconds left. However, it was the Dragons’ turn to respond, as Marginean hit a jumper to tie things with 11 seconds showing on the clock. Kelly Smith missed a three but two offensive rebounds later and with two seconds left, Spivey reached above the pack and tipped the ball in to beat the buzzer and send ECU to the second round.
Clarke scored all 16 of her points after halftime to end up with the team lead. Best added 15 while Chareya Smith and Gay chipped in 14 and 12. Gay almost completed the double-double, pulling down nine rebounds. Additionally, Spivey recorded seven assists. For Drexel, Marginean put in a game-high 35 points.
The Lady Pirates matched their season average from the field, shooting 46 percent while holding the Dragons to 41 percent. East Carolina also ended up on top in
rebounding 42-33 while picking up 16 important offensive rebounds.
ECU will travel to College Park, Md. Sunday for a WNIT second-round tilt with the Maryland Terrapins. Tipoff from the Comcast Center will be announced tomorrow.