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Monk has unique stealing skill

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East Carolina's Lashonda Monk claps during a game in Minges Coliseum against Maryland Eastern-Shore on Nov. 6.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

There are times on the basketball court when East Carolina women’s player Lashonda Monk is in football mode.

That was on display during key stretches Saturday for ECU’s biggest highlight of a 5-0 start to its season when it beat Wake Forest 70-61. It marked the Pirates’ first basketball victory against an Atlantic Coast Conference team, in either gender, since Dec. 9, 2007.

Like a ball-hawking defensive back on a football field, Monk swiped nine steals in the win. The Demon Deacons totaled 35 turnovers.

Monk’s nine steals are second-most by an American Athletic Conference player in a game, trailing only the record of 10 she had against SMU last season.

“She does a really great job of reading (the ball), and is almost like a safety in football,” Pirate interim coach Chad Killinger said. “She just reads their eyes and sees what is going on. She was able to turn some of those steals into points for us, and this is the big thing.

“I feel like during our first four games there were times where we forced turnovers or got those steals and we didn’t capitalize. ... We took a step toward with our defense kind of dictating our offense a little more.”

Monk scored a game-high 25 points, and her 11 made field goals were a career-high. Wake led 17-2 during the first seven minutes, but the play and energy by Monk and fellow guard Raven Johnson (24 points) guided East Carolina to a comeback win.

“It was pretty fun and we talked about it before the game how big this would be,” Monk said of beating an ACC team.

Now the Pirates must regroup and play their first two road games of the season this week, beginning tonight at 7 p.m. against William & Mary (2-2). ECU also plays at Charlotte on Saturday.

Monk is the team leader with 17 steals. Johnson, who is ECU’s leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, has 14.

East Carolina has 69 turnovers for the season compared to 65 by its opponents, but the Pirates have momentum on their side heading into a two-game week with both contests on the road.

“We made a real positive step (against Wake Forest),” Killinger said of ECU’s opportunistic defense. “It was not like if you are not making shots then you weren’t going to go out and play hard on defense. I felt like we took a major step forward in that regard.”

The Pirates and Tribe have split their four meetings, with William & Mary winning the last two. W&M won 71-65 in overtime in Greenville a season ago.

William & Mary’s top player this year has been senior guard Bianca Boggs, who is averaging 18.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing.

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

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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

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