The East Carolina women’s basketball team played enough defense to hang around against SMU, but the Pirates’ offense wasn’t up to the task in a 60-49 American Athletic Conference loss on Thursday in Dallas.
It was the third consecutive AAC loss for the Pirates, who failed to score at least 60 points for the ninth time this season. ECU is unbeaten when it scores at least 60 points.
That number wasn’t in reach after another slow start. ECU’s Taniyah Thompson was the only player to score more than two points in a first half that featured missed shots and a 12-0 SMU run. The Pirates trailed 29-16 by halftime as they made just seven shots in the game’s first 20 minutes, led by Thompson’s 4-for-12 effort.
The gap between the Pirates’ defensive and offensive efficiency was on display. The Pirates, who are second in the AAC in steals, collected 18 steals and forced the Mustangs into their most turnovers of the season with 27.
That was the good.
Here’s the not so good:
Even while filling up passing lanes and forcing SMU (8-6, 2-0 AAC) into mistakes, ECU couldn’t score enough to take advantage of those extra possessions. ECU shot 2-of-19 from 3-point range, and didn’t fare much better inside the arc as the Pirates missed 13 layups.
ECU (7-9, 0-3) finished just under 28 percent from the field, going 20-for-79 overall.
Thompson, the AAC’s second-leading scorer, led ECU with 15 points and four steals. She also added six rebounds. Da’Ja Green also finished in double figures with 11 points, while Tylar Bennett pulled down eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
SMU’s Kayla White scored a game-high 34 points and went 10-for-10 from the foul line. White took over the top scoring performance in the conference from Thompson, whose 31-point outburst at UNC Wilmington on Dec. 19 was the league’s previous high.
Mustangs forward Savannah Wilkinson, who is averaging a double-double this season, finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. It was Wilkinson’s 10th double-double of the season, which is tied for seventh in the nation.
SMU’s Jasmine Smith and Reagan Bradley combined for nine of the team’s 17 assists. ECU had seven assists and was out-rebounded, 47-33.
The Pirates play again in search of their first conference win at 1 p.m. on Sunday when they host Cincinnati at Minges Coliseum.