Home good to the Lady Pirates

Published 11:35 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — A little home cooking is just what East Carolina needed.
Playing nine of their last 11 games on the road, the Lady Pirates returned home Thursday evening for a Conference USA clash with the Memphis Tigers. The familiar confines of Minges Coliseum certainly did wonders for the Lady Pirates.
ECU got off to a fast start and never looked back, running away with an 83-66 victory. While improving to 7-1 at home this year, the Lady Pirates were also able to snap a three-game skid.
ECU (11-7, 2-3) relied on a solid defense to keep Memphis (8-11, 1-5) at bay.
While the whole team got it done at the defense end, several players contributed at the offensive end. LaCoya Terry paced the Pirates with 20 points. Jasmine Young added 18 points and 10 assists while Jean Best had 11 points and Allison Spivey nine.
The Lady Pirates got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. ECU quickly pushed that to 17-8 thanks in large part to two triples from Terry and another from Gabriela Husarova.
ECU took a 13-point lead at 24-11 on an acrobatic layup by Terry, and went up by as many as 14 with 13:09 to play.
The Tigers cut into the lead, pulling as close as 35-30. However, it seemed that Allison Spivey had an answer for each Memphis run. The sophomore got hot from downtown, burying three trifectas in a short span to give ECU a 38-30 advantage.
The last of Spivey’s 3-pointers sparked a 7-0 spurt to close the half, giving the Lady Pirates a 42-30 lead.
Memphis got as close as seven twice early in the second half, but layups by Young, Terry and Tiahana Bowens gave ECU a little breathing room at 57-45.
The Tigers got within single digits a handful of times, but the Lady Pirates always had an answer.
Terry buried a 12-foot jumper at the 6:22 mark, giving ECU a 68-53 lead.
Tehani Goldsmith (14 points) and Paris Leonard (27 points) hit big buckets to keep the Tigers within striking distance, but ECU responded with a three-point play by Jean Best and a 3-pointer from Young.
Young’s long triple with just under two minutes to play gave the Lady Pirates a 79-64 lead, sealing the victory.
Buckets by Kim Gay and Best pushed ECU’s lead to 19 points at 83-64, giving the Lady Pirates their largest lead of the game.
ECU returns to action Saturday at home against UAB. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m.