GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Media Relations) – The East Carolina women’s basketball team dropped an 84-41 decision to top-ranked Connecticut at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum on Saturday night in American Athletic Conference action.
I’Tiana Taylor led the Pirates with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Marina Laramie grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
“I thought I’Tiana Taylor did a great job competing really hard and we hit the offensive glass,” Head Coach Heather Macy said. “We had 16 offensive rebounds, which is a lot. The key to that moving forward is converting those offensive rebounds into points, whether from the free throw line or second chance points.”
Katie Lou Samuelson scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter, while Breanna Stewart led the Huskies 16 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks, four assists and three steals.
East Carolina (10-17, 4-11 AAC) went right at the Huskies following the opening tip, as Payne scored a pair of layups in the first two-and-a-half minutes to keep the Pirates down by just three, 7-4, with 7:19 remaining. UConn would score 20-straight points from that point to create a 27-4 advantage, before Khadidja Toure knocked down a three-pointer with one second left in the quarter to break the scoring run.
ECU began the second quarter with a 7-3 run of its own behind a layup by Toure and five points from Laramie to cut the deficit to 30-14 with 7:25 remaining in the half, but a 10-straight points by Connecticut (26-0, 15-0 AAC) down to the 4:21 mark pushed the margin to 26 points.
Taylor would score a pair of baskets that sandwiched a Gabrielle Holston three-pointer, before UConn took a 42-21 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.
East Carolina shot 8-for-33 (.242) from the floor, 3-for-11 (.273) beyond the arc and made both of two free throw attempts in the first half, while the Huskies shot 13-for-28 (.464) from the field, 4-for-11 (.364) from three and 12-for-14 (.857) at the free throw line.
Connecticut opened the third quarter with a 15-3 run, capped by a Samuelson three-pointer with exactly minutes remaining to keep the Huskies in front, 57-24. Their lead would grow to as many as 37 with 2:10 remaining before taking a 66-31 advantage into the final period.
The Pirates were unable to get their deficit under 30 points, as UConn maintained control of every facet of the contest and led by as many as 45 with 1:16 left in the game before closing out the 43-point victory margin.
ECU finished the night with a season-low 15 field goals made and shot 24.2 percent from the floor, while the Huskies shot 28-for-60 (.467) overall, 8-for-20 (.400) from three and 20-for-24 (.833) at the free throw line. UConn owned a 38-20 scoring advantage in the paint, 27-8 margin off turnovers and 28-6 spread off the bench.
“Today was our alumni day and I was so pleased with how many showed up,” Macy said. “It really gave honor to the past that paved the way for our program. I want to thank them for all their support.”
East Carolina returns to the court Wednesday, Feb. 24 for a road tilt at Cincinnati. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.