The East Carolina women’s basketball team couldn’t keep up with one of the best shooting teams in the country and lost, 71-59, at Tulsa on Tuesday in American Athletic Conference play.
The Pirates (7-8, 0-2 AAC) fell behind early in the opening quarter and didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep pace after Tulsa expanded its lead to 10 points in the first six minutes and never gave back the lead.
ECU’s high-energy defense couldn’t contain Tulsa, which boasts the AAC’s best offense. The Golden Hurricane (12-2, 2-1) lead the league in scoring, shooting percentage, 3-point shooting percentage and free-throw percentage. They also lead in total assists and assists-to-turnover ratio.
Tulsa entered the game shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range, which leads the nation. The Golden Hurricane showed off that range by going 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and 16-of-29 overall in the first half to lead 47-23 at halftime.
Tulsa led by as many as 29 points (41-12) in the first half. The Golden Hurricane were dominating so handily in the opening half that it held a 15-4 rebounding advantage over the Pirates with 7:51 remaining until halftime.
The Golden Hurricane, who average more than 74 points per game, were without leading scorer Maya Mayberry, who hasn’t played since Jan. 5. Still, Tulsa found offense elsewhere as sophomore Wyvette Mayberry led all scorers with 24 points, tying a career high. Temira Poindexter added 13 points and 10 rebounds, with Rebecca Lescay scoring 12.
ECU played better in the second half and hung around as the Pirates cut their deficit to 11 points in the fourth quarter when they got within 64-53 with 4:41 remaining, but couldn’t get any closer.
Taniyah Thompson finished with 16 points to lead the Pirates, while Raven Johnson was also in double figures with 11 points. Tylar Bennett, who had seven blocks against Central Flordia on Saturday, had two more against Tulsa.
Bennett also narrowly missed a double-double and finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
ECU has now lost its first two games since returning from an 18-day layoff between games due to COVID issues within its program.
The Pirates will play again on Thursday in Dallas against SMU in a game that was rescheduled from Jan. 1.
The Pirates then return to Minges Coliseum on Sunday to host Cincinnati.