Mariah Turner and Teanna Reid scored 14 points apiece to lead the Hurricane, but it wasn't enough as the East Carolina Pirates captured a 77-68 victory Wednesday night in front of 787 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
The Pirates shot 48-percent from the field and 45-percent from three-point range, connecting on 9-of-20 treys, while Tulsa netted 42-percent from the field and 37-percent from three-point range. ECU had 14 second chance points to Tulsa's two points, as the Pirates out-rebounded the Hurricane by 12 boards, 37 to 25.
Tulsa's Ashley Clark added 10 points for the Hurricane cause. Jada Payne led four players in double-figures for the Pirates with 19 points, while Shae Nelson added 13, DeVaughn Gray, who played her prep basketball at Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School, scored 11 points, all coming in the first 20 minutes, and Jasmine Phillips had 10 points
"We knew we were going to get outrebounded, there's not a lot we can do about that, but at least we battled. I'm encouraged by how hard we fought, and how hard we guarded,” said Tulsa head Coach Matilda Mossman. “We put them at the line too many times, and gave them too many threes. I think they had seven at halftime and they only got two in the second half, but it took us too long to make that adjustment. Then, when we adjusted to the three-point shooting, they were getting us off the drive, and we were fouling from the help position. They had really balanced scoring, and that's tough to beat.”
East Carolina's Jada Payne knocked down consecutive three-pointers early in the second half to put the Pirates ahead by 14 points, 48-34, at the 17:49 mark. Tulsa trimmed that lead to six points at 48-42 on two straight treys by Antoinet Webster and two Erika Wakefield free throws with 16:53 left on the game clock
The Pirates kept the lead between 7 and 9 points over the next four minutes until Ashley Clark's three-pointer at the 11:25 mark made it 57-53, putting the Hurricane as close as they had been since the 3:07 mark of the first half when the Pirates led by two points at 29-27.
Tulsa could only get as close as four points two more times in the final 10 minutes, as the last came on two Reid free throws that made the score 61-57 with 8:43 to play. The Pirates pushed the lead over 10 points again at the 4:53 mark, 69-59. Tulsa's Autura Campbell scored a layup at the 3:22 mark to cut the ECU lead to six points at 69-63, but the Pirates scored the next seven points to take a 13-point lead at 76-63 with less than a minute to play.
The game was tied six times for nearly the first 13 minutes of the first half. Teanna Reid's layup at the 7:02 mark tied the contest for the sixth time at 22-22. From that point, the Pirates out-scored the Hurricane in the final seven minutes 20-10 to take a 42-32 lead into the intermission.
Turner had 12 first-half points, while Reid tallied 10 points to pace the Hurricane. East Carolina's Gray scored 11 points in nine first-half minutes, while connecting on 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from three-point range.
Tulsa will be back at the Reynolds Center this Saturday afternoon, Jan. 17, to host the Houston Cougars in a 2:00 p.m. game.