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Owls blow by ECU women

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ECU's Justice Gee (0) dribbles as she looks to run the Pirate offense on Saturday, Feb. 11th, 2017.

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By Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Some things looked so good for the East Carolina women’s basketball team against No. 22 South Florida on Wednesday night. A pink hue made the setting look good in Minges Coliseum on Saturday, but Temple made sure the Pirates didn’t deliver an upset win for their mostly pink-clad fans.

Temple rode a hot start for a 76-43 victory as it continues its push for a strong end to the regular season and hopeful NCAA tournament run. ECU (10-15, 1-11 American Athletic Conference) saw its losing streak extended to nine games.

The game was played in front of 1,889 fans on hand for the Pirates’ annual Play4Kay event to help with breast cancer awareness. Cancer survivors in attendance were honored at halftime. 

“Thanks to everybody who was a part of that. The spirit of this game, regardless of the score, was absolutely incredible,” Pirate coach Heather Macy said. “It’s one of the reasons why I love Greenville and East Carolina.”

Fans saw the visitors execute well on offense and hit shots in bunches to win and stay in second place in the AAC. Temple is 15-2 in its last 17 contests.

The loss ended a three-game homestand for East Carolina, which got 11 points and nine rebounds from Kristen Gaffney in Gaffney’s fourth straight game leading the team in scoring.

Temple (19-5, 10-2) finished 8-for-17 from 3-point range. ECU was 2-for-12 and shot 26.2 percent from the field.

“They are a very good defensive team and really aggressive,” Macy said of the Owls, who held the hosts to 16 baskets on 61 field goal attempts. “I didn’t think that we responded well with the pressure.”

ECU led for the majority of Wednesday’s game, which ended as a 77-67 win for USF.

Temple was more dominant and its only deficit was 2-0. Donnaizha Fountain turned in a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Alliya Butts was 3-of-4 on 3s and scored 21 points.

The Owls doubled up ECU during the first six minutes, then got a 3-pointer from Butts for a 15-6 lead with 3:27 left in the opening quarter.

It was 6-6 after a basket from ECU senior guard Khadidja Toure, but that was followed by Temple surging ahead with a 15-0 run.

A 3 by Gaffney stopped the big run, making it 21-9.

The Owls were 7-of-11 from the outside in the first half and led 46-20 at halftime.

East Carolina has four regular-season games remaining, three of which are on the road. The Pirates’ final home game is Feb. 22 versus Cincinnati.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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