March 5, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - LaCoya Terry scored 22 points and the Blazers hit 54 percent of their shots from the field as eighth-seeded East Carolina defeated No. 9 seed UAB, 73-59, in game one of the 2009 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Thursday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
The Lady Pirates set the tone for the day early by scoring 11 of the game's first 14 points en route to the victory. With the win, East Carolina improves to 18-12 on the year and advances to take on regular-season C-USA Champion SMU on Friday at noon. UAB, meanwhile, concludes its 2008-09 season at 10-20.
While East Carolina led 11-3 early on, the Blazers stormed back to tie the contest at 11 all with 13:24 left to play in the first half. From there, however, it was all ECU as the Lady Pirates scored seven straight and never looked back. UAB cut the deficit to two at 24-22 with 7:30 left in the opening stanza, but the Lady Pirates went into the locker room at the break up by eight at 39-31.
The start of the second half was a defensive struggle as Kim Gay of East Carolina's jumper at 18:58 was the lone field goal of the stanza for nearly six minutes and a three-point play by Terry at 14:21 had the Lady Pirates on top, 46-34. The ECU defense, meanwhile, held UAB without a shot from the floor until the 13:30 mark when Tamika Dukes connected on a jump shot to make it 48-36.
The Blazers cut the difference in single digits at 8:41 and again at 7:31 to make it 55-46, but East Carolina answered with a 9-2 rally to hold a 64-67 advantage with 3:22 left in regulation. The lead swelled to as many as 21 at 70-49 with 1:22 remaining on the clock and the Lady Pirates sailed easily into the second round.
Terry was one of three Lady Pirates to post double-digit scoring figures as Gay and Jasmine Young each added 13. Terry and Young tied for team-high rebounding honors with eight each, while Young dished out game-best eight assists.
UAB's Britney Jones led all players with 34 points on 12-of-28 shooting while Tamika Dukes was next for the Blazers in scoring with eight. Jones also paced the club with five rebounds and three assists.