Two of the three players in uniform on the East Carolina women’s basketball bench by the end of the game Sunday had fouled out.

ECU dealt with foul issues for most of its contest against Wichita State and rallied at times during the second half, yet the Shockers pulled away in the final quarter for a 61-53 victory in Minges Coliseum to hand ECU its ninth straight defeat.

Lashonda Monk committed her fourth foul with 1:39 left in the third quarter and her Pirates (3-13, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) leading 37-34. The quarter ended with the score tied, 40-40, and Monk and fellow veteran guard Necole Hope each at four fouls. Four other Pirates had three.

The game was tied again, 47-47, at the 6:32 mark when the Shockers (9-7, 1-2) scored seven straight points to spark their 14-6 run the rest of the way.

Monk missed some time during the fourth quarter with cramping and remained at four fouls while finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds, eight turnovers and six steals. Teammates Dominique Claytor and Tiara Chambers did reach the maximum of five fouls, and four Pirates had four, part of ECU being whistled for 31 total fouls and Wichita 20.

Nine different players scored for the Shockers, who went 28-of-40 from the free throw line. ECU, which benefited from freshman Katerina Tsineke’s breakout 15-point outing, was 9-for-20.

“You can’t put a team on the free throw line 40 times in a game, so we have to be smarter than that, but I thought we got a little bit better and saw some people step up at key times,” Pirate coach Kim McNeill said. “I am OK with the aggressive fouls in diving on the floor or closing up our traps. The fouls we’re making where we reach in at the last minute on putbacks and giving up and-ones, that has to stop. If you are going to foul, foul hard.”

ECU started the scoring in the second half with 3-pointers by Monk, who was called for three fouls in the first half, and Tsineke to turn a 28-20 halftime score into a 28-26 deficit.

It was 31-30 Shockers when ECU’s Taniyah Thompson made one free throw for a 31-31 tie, and another Tsineke 3 with 4:25 left in the third gave the Pirates their first lead, 34-31, since it was 2-1.

Tsineke finished 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. She came into the game 5-for-23 for the season from three-point range and averaging 4.9 points per outing.

“Once I made the first one, I felt sure I could make the second and the third,” said Tsineke, who is from Thessaloniki, Greece. “I believed it.”

She scored all 15 of her points after halftime.

ECU swiped 10 steals in the first half, but the visitors held a 6-5 edge in points off turnovers at halftime.

The Pirates rallied during the third quarter thanks to a 20-12 scoring advantage.

“A lot of that is because we hit some shots,” McNeill said. “It helps to score more points when you can hit some shots. In the fourth quarter, I just thought we lost our composure a little bit and started making some really bad turnovers that led to offense for them.”

WSU finished with 27 turnovers, three more than ECU, and the Pirates had a 22-16 edge in points off turnovers.

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

First track meet

The East Carolina track and field program opened a new indoor season Saturday with a number of strong performances at the Dick Taylor Carolina Challenge in Chapel Hill.

ECU faced off against teams from Campbell, Duke, Hampton, High Point, North Carolina and UNC Greensboro, as well as various other individual competitors.

The Pirate women took a pair of event titles, including freshman Melicia Mouzzon in the 60-meter dash in 7.42 seconds for the third-fastest mark in school history. Mackenzie Whitaker also was first in the 800 in 2:23.09. Naomi Whitaker showed well in her first attempt at the 60-meter hurdles this season, winning the preliminaries in a time of 8.69 before finishing second in the finals at 8.68. In the field, Brooke Stith captured second in the long jump (5.79 meters).

On the men’s side, freshman Royal Burris clinched second in the prelims of the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.82. He did not compete in the finals. Blake Mathews was third in the high jump, clearing 1.97.

“I was very pleased with everyone’s effort and their approach to how they all competed,” ECU coach Curt Kraft said in a release. “One of the biggest things I look for as a coach is enthusiasm and effort in everything they do. This is a good starting point, and now we know what we have to work on for the next couple of weeks.”

Swimming in Minges

East Carolina’s swimming and diving teams closed out their home schedule Saturday afternoon by posting some of their fastest times of the season, but ultimately dropped a dual meet to South Carolina in Minges Natatorium.

The South Carolina men’s 400 freestyle relay team edged the Pirates by 0.82 seconds in the final event of the day to win the meet, 156-144.

The Gamecocks defeated the Pirate women 180-113.

“The men’s meet came down to the last relay and every race was a battle,” ECU coach Matthew Jabs said. “We had some impressive in-season performances both in the pool and on the diving boards. I’m proud of our entire team and the effort put forth in today’s meet.”

ECU sophomore Marek Osina led the men’s pursuit with three first-place finishes, highlighted by edging SC sophomore Phil Costin by 0.19 seconds to win the 200 freestyle in his first event of the day. Osina later beat out teammate Magnus Andersen to capture the 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

Lyubomir Epitropov swept the breaststroke events, and Adam Mahler provided a Pirate win in the 200 butterfly.

Adela Vavrinova was the lone multi-event winner for ECU on the women’s side. She narrowly claimed victory in the 100 freestyle, touching 0.07 seconds ahead of the Gamecocks’ Emily Cornell. Her win in the 200 IM was much more comfortable in finishing nearly three seconds in front of the runner-up.

Shannon Stott (200 fly) and Kristen Stege (500 free) also claimed individual victories, and Rodrigo Romero became the first East Carolina diver to break 400 points in a dual meet in scoring 400.50 on the 3-meter springboard to place second.

- ECU Media Relations