GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Athletics)- The East Carolina women’s basketball team threw the first punch and never looked back on Saturday afternoon as they downed the Charlotte 49ers, 70-56, in a pivotal American Athletic Conference contest. Danae McNeal and Amiya Joyner were phenomenal in the game as they stuffed the stat sheet and paced the Pirates to victory.
East Carolina (14-8, 7-4 AAC) was up 12-0 with 2:34 remaining in the first quarter before Charlotte (13-11, 6-6 AAC) finally found the basket in Minges Coliseum. It was a 10 point margin after a quarter of action before the Pirates used yet another spurt, this time 7-0, to take a 16 point lead into the halftime break, 35-19.
Charlotte made a bit of a run at it but never managed to draw close enough to make it too interesting as the Pirates would go on to lead by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter, closing the game strong and shutting the door on the visiting 49ers. In total, the Pirates led for 38:28 of the game after scoring 90 second into it.
McNeal and Joyner were the stars of the show with stat lines you had to see to believe. McNeal finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals while Joyner posted 24 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and an assist – while drawing eight fouls on the 49ers. It was the 18th double-double of the sophomore’s young career. Joyner also shot an efficient 11-15 (.733) from the field.
That dynamic duo had help, though, and Tatyan Wyche provided a lot of it with her nine points and six blocks. Those rejections gave the forward 13 in the last two games and propelled the team to 12 as a collective. 12 blocks is the second-highest total in program history (the team has had 13 twice).
At the end of the day, the Pirates simply had an answer for everything Charlotte threw at them and did it with remarkable efficiency, shooting 50 percent from the field and only shooting six triples on the day – though Karina Gordon’s second-half make was critical and an absolute back breaker. The Pirates held a 44-20 edge on points in the paint and scored 18 second-chance points while out rebounding Charlotte, 39-28.
The Pirates will be looking for payback as they travel to Houston, Texas to take on the Rice Owls on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game will be available for streaming on ESPN+.