ECU women’s basketball team advances to AAC championship, will play No. 10 Rice

FORTH WORTH, TEXAS (AAC) – No. 9 East Carolina advanced to its second straight American Women’s Basketball Championship final with a 55-54 win over No. 4 UTSA in the semifinals on Tuesday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

With the win, the Pirates (19-13) will face No. 10 Rice in the final tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Rice defeated No. 3 Temple overnight to 60-57 to advance.

Danae McNeal made a layup with 48 seconds remaining to pull the Pirates within one with 48 seconds remaining and made a jumper with 39 seconds left to give East Carolina the lead for good at 53-52.

Karina Gordon made two free throws to push the lead to three with 11 seconds remaining.

UTSA’s Sidney Love made a layup with eight seconds left to cut the lead to one and the Roadrunners (17-14) had one last chance at the buzzer, but a half court heave was too strong and gave ECU the win.

With one steal, McNeal recorded her 12th in three games, a new Championship record, besting the previous record of 11, set by Houston’s Tatyana Hill in the 2022 Championship. With three blocks, ECU’s Tatyana Wyche has 10 for the Championship, which matches the Championship record with UConn’s Brianna Stewart, who blocked 10 shots in both the 2015 and 2016 Championships.

As a team the Pirates, have recorded 27 blocks in three games, a new Championship record and ahead of the previous mark of 22, set last year by East Carolina.

Amiya Joyner led the Pirates with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Khia Miller added 14 points. The Pirates outscored UTSA, 23-13 in the final period. Jordyn Jenkins led UTSA with 14 points.

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