East Carolina women’s basketball dominated the glass and spread the ball around to get its first road victory of the season, defeating Richmond 71-60 Saturday afternoon.
“I thought the way we defended and rebounded was really good and you could tell how much we have worked on that during the break,” said ECU head coach Heather Macy. We did a nice job sharing the ball and we were successful within our system.”
The Pirates (8-3) were once again carried by the inside presence of forward Kristen Gaffney. She led the team with 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting, and grabbed 10 of the season-best 50 rebounds ECU pulled down during the game. Gaffney could’ve finished with even more points, but shot only 6-for-12 from the free-throw line, while Guard Lauren Tolson led Richmond with 16 points and eight rebounds.
“She [Gaffney] knows that we have a lot of confidence in her,” Macy said. “If she had knocked a few more down, we are talking about her scoring 30 today.”
The Spiders (4-7) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game, but ECU responded with a 6-0 run.
The Pirates took their first lead of the game with 4:02 remaining in the first period, after back-to-back 3s from Khadidja Toure and Gaffney. Toure, the only other Pirate with double-digit points, chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds. ECU held on to finish the opening quarter with a 16-15 lead.
In a repeat of the opening period, Richmond came out strong, and went up 20-18 early in the second, thanks to a layup and free-throw from guard Micaela Parson. Parson finished with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting and four assists.
From that point on, ECU really took control of the game, scoring 17 of the next 22 points to take a commanding 35-25 lead.
The Pirates used successful ball movement to generate their offense, recording 11 of the team’s 19 assists in the first half. Richmond scored four quick points near the end of the second to cut into the lead, but forward Gabrielle Holston hit a layup at the buzzer to push ECU’s lead to 37-29 at the halftime interval.
The Pirates blew the game open in the third quarter, scoring 23 points, while limiting the Spiders to only nine. ECU opened the third period with a 7-0 run, punctuated by a Fanni Csutoras three, which forced a Richmond timeout. ECU’s lead got up to 17 points before guard Janelle Hubbard hit a pair of free-throws to end the run. This did not end the onslaught though, and as the third quarter came to an end; the Pirates’ lead was 60-38.
ECU, which shot 41.9 percent from the field, went ice-cold in the fourth. The Pirates were held to only two points, until a Gaffney layup with four minutes remaining in the game, which put the score at 64-51, ECU. If there was any panic from the Pirates, it didn’t show, as they coasted to an 11 point victory, despite being outscored by 11 in the final quarter.