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ECU Tops Liberty 66-63 on Buzzer-Beater

December 13, 2018  Greenville, N.C.  RSS
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Ashtyn Baker finished with 13 points and seven rebounds at ECU.

Ashtyn Baker finished with 13 points and seven rebounds at ECU.

Justice Gee's deep three-pointer from the right wing swished through the net at the buzzer, giving host East Carolina a dramatic 66-63 victory over Liberty, Thursday afternoon at Minges Coliseum.

Liberty (2-7) led for much of the game but was undone by 23 turnovers which led to 30 East Carolina points. Ten of the miscues came in the fourth quarter.

ECU improves to 6-2, including 6-0 at home. Lashonda Monk sparked the Pirates with 16 points, five steals and five assists, including the one which set up Gee's game winner.

Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Ashtyn Baker – 13 points, 7 rebounds; Ria Gulley – 13 points; Emily Lytle – 11 points; KK Barbour – 9 points, 5 rebounds; Kierra Johnson-Graham – 8 rebounds, 3 assists.

Other ECU Individuals: Raven Johnson – 8 points, 5 rebounds; Destiny Campbell – 8 points, 5 rebounds; Justice Gee – 7 points, 4 steals, 3 assists.

Key Team Stats: Liberty finished with a 40-35 rebounding advantage. East Carolina shot only 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from three-point range, but made the one that counted at the end. The Pirates, who rank No. 8 nationally in turnovers forced, came up with 15 steals.

Turning Point
Ria Gulley beat the shot clock buzzer with a three-pointer at the 1:04 mark of the fourth quarter, tying the score at 63-63. However, ECU outrebounded the Lady Flames 4-1 the rest of the way.

Three straight offensive boards by the Pirates enabled them to maintain possession for the game's final 33 seconds.

After an ECU timeout with 8.8 ticks remaining, the Lady Flames denied the Pirates a good look at the basket until Gee caught the ball around NBA range and released it just before the buzzer sounded.

Game Summary
First Quarter
• KK Barbour helped the Lady Flames jump out to an 11-4 advantage, scoring seven points within the game's first 4:20.

• Liberty shot 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from the field in the first quarter, leading by as many as nine points (18-9) before taking an 18-13 edge into the second period.

Second Quarter
• ECU went on a 7-0 run spanning the first two quarters, pulling to within 18-16 on Lashonda Monk's three-pointer with 9:16 showing on the clock.

• Liberty held the host Pirates to one made field goal over the next 8:05, rebuilding its cushion to nine points on its way to a 31-24 halftime lead.

• ECU shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) during the opening 20 minutes.

Third Quarter
• ECU shot 50 percent (7-of-14) during the third quarter, but Liberty maintained the edge throughout.

• For the second straight game, Ashtyn Baker had a big third quarter. Her eight points helped the Lady Flames take a 49-44 lead into the final period.

Fourth Quarter
• ECU outscored Liberty 22-14 over the final 10 minutes. The Lady Flames shot 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from the field, but the Pirates countered with 8-of-21 shooting, thanks to offensive rebounding and Liberty's 10 turnovers.

• All seven of Justice Gee's points in the game came during the fourth period.

Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes
"I'm very proud of a lot of things we did today. We rose to the occasion, and some players had really good games. Amy West came in and helped us out a lot. I can't say that we deserved to win, but we were right there with an opportunity to win. We didn't make the plays when we needed to."

Notes and Nuggets
• Ria Gulley's 13 points established a new career high.

• Ashtyn Baker has now grabbed 15 rebounds during the last two games from the point guard spot, after pulling down a career-high eight boards at ETSU on Dec. 4.

• Emily Lytle scored in double figures for the eighth time in nine games to begin her Liberty career, with 10 of her 11 points coming after halftime.

• Kierra Johnson-Graham led the Lady Flames in rebounds (8) and assists (season-high 3).

• Returning to the starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 13, ASUN Freshman of the Week Mya McMillian scored six points on 3-3 from the field. She has made all six of her field goal attempts in the last two games.

• Amy West tallied the first four points of her collegiate career.

• Thursday's matinee was the first-ever hardwood matchup between Liberty and East Carolina. The Lady Flames are now 0-2 all-time against American Athletic Conference opponents.

• The game was played before a Minges Coliseum women's basketball record crowd of 6,276, largely comprised of area schoolchildren.

• Both teams were coming off extended layoffs due to final exams. Liberty had not played in nine days, while ECU's most recent game was 12 days ago.

Up Next
Liberty will face its second straight Tar Heel State opponent and its third Southern Conference foe of the season on Sunday, when the Lady Flames head to UNCG. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. inside Fleming Gymnasium for the 23rd all-time meeting between the former Big South rivals.

Date: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018
Location: Greensboro, N.C. (Fleming Gymnasium)
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)
Tipoff: 2 p.m.