GREENVILLE, N.C. – Kristen Gaffney scored a game-high 23 points and led six Pirates who reached double-figures as the East Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Greensboro College, 107-40, in its 2016-17 season debut Friday evening at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum.
Gaffney shot 9-for-12 from the field while her 23 points and seven steals were career-highs, while Bre McDonald just missed a triple-double with 18 points, a career-high 10 rebounds, nine steals and five assists. Antoinette Bannister chipped in a personal-best 18 points and made six of seven three-point attempts to complement five assists and four steals.
Alexis Cortez debuted with 11 points and knocked down three triples, as Gabrielle Holston and Alex Frazier added 10 points apiece.
Rasheika Gregory led the Spartans with 11 points and four rebounds.
HEATHER MACY QUOTES
“It’s nice to get the season back rolling and I’m so thankful to get a game under their belt because I think our team will continue to grow and get better the more we play together.
“I thought we responded in the second half. We talked a lot about value. I believe that winning teams understand about value. So we did a nice job with five turnovers in the second, it didn’t get sloppy down the stretch so I was really pleased with that.”
Bannister made each of her first four three-point attempts to lead a 30-0 run by the Pirates from the opening tip, holding the Spartans scoreless to the 2:20 mark. Greensboro (0-1) was able to connect on a pair of baskets before the end of the period as ECU held a 30-4 advantage through the first 10 minutes of play.
East Carolina (1-0) would go on to shoot 10-for-17 (.588) from the floor as Bannister made her fifth-straight shot beyond the arc. The Spartans made just three buckets in the frame as the Pirates outscored the visitors, 27-13, in the period and took a 57-17 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
ECU shot 20-for-34 (.588) overall, 7-for-9 (.778) from three-point range and 10-for-15 (.667) at the free throw line in the first half, while Greensboro went 5-for-26 (.192) from the field, 1-for-11 (.091) from deep and 6-for-8 (.750) at the foul stripe.
The Pirates had difficulty getting the offense going to start the second half but were able to spread the ball around and outscore the Spartans, 20-16, in the period.
ECU turned up the heat once more and closed out the evening strong by out-producing Greensboro, 22-2, in the paint, 17-0 off turnovers and 12-0 off the bench in the final 10 minutes to outscore the Spartans, 30-7, in the quarter to finish off the 67-point victory.
East Carolina will remain at home for game two of its four-game homestand to host Detroit-Mercy on Sunday, Nov. 13. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., at Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum.