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Pink Pirates stop their losing streak

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East Carolina point guard Alex Frazier looks to drive with the ball during Play4Kay day. Feb. 2, 2019.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Pink accessories proved timely and victorious for the East Carolina women’s basketball team Saturday.

Wearing pink headbands, shoelaces, socks and other gear for breast cancer awareness on Play4Kay day in Minges Coliseum, ECU stopped a five-game losing streak with a 63-61 victory against Tulane. The Green Wave (14-7, 4-4 American Athletic Conference) also wore pink uniforms.

The Pirates (11-10, 2-6 American) scored the first 10 points of the game, highlighted by a trio of 3-pointers from Ariyana Williams, and built an 11-point lead by halftime. Pirate senior guard Alex Frazier scored 19 points and Williams finished with 13 thanks to going 4-of-7 from 3-point range.

“Ariyana got us started with those three 3s in a row. That really got us going,” ECU coach Nicole Mealing said. “Our energy was up the entire game. … Going into this game we were really disappointed in some of our play recently and we knew what we needed to do to win a game. We know that we are capable.”

ECU’s men beat Tulane on Thursday, which also stopped a five-game losing streak for the Pirates.

Tulane’s women, who fell to 1-4 in their last five outings, never held a lead.

East Carolina came in alone in last place in the AAC standings. A loss to the Wave would have dropped the Pirates to a losing overall record for the first time all season, but the hosts won behind a 46-33 advantage in rebounds and they were helped by post players Salita Greene (12 points, nine rebounds) and Destiny Campbell (10 points) off the bench.

Halftime included the opportunity to recognize cancer fighters and survivors in attendance. Kay Yow is a 1964 graduate of ECU and former legendary women’s basketball coach at N.C. State. She died in 2009.

“We are playing for a purpose bigger than ourselves, so we just wanted to leave it all out on the court,” said Frazier, who also had six rebounds. “We gave it to everyone who came to support us. We support them right back.”

Tulane rallied during the closing minutes and cut the deficit to 62-61 with 21 seconds remaining. A clutch shot by Campbell, defensive stand by Frazier and free throw by Lashonda Monk all helped the Pirates during the final minute. Tulane’s Dynah Jones missed a half-court heave at the final buzzer.

The win was the Pirates’ first over the Wave since Jan. 31, 2015.

Tulane’s first basket was a short jumper by Krystal Freeman, which made it 10-2 Pirates at the 6:42 mark of the opening quarter.

Williams responded immediately by dropping in a 3 on the ensuing possession.

It was 23-16 Pirates at the end of the first. They shot 64.3 percent from the field from the floor during the first 10 minutes.

ECU’s largest lead was by 13 points early in the third quarter. It was 47-35 going into the fourth.

Freeman had 22 points and 12 boards for the Green Wave.

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

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