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Ladies advance on rally for the ages

From staff and electronic reports
All rights reserved.

The East Carolina women's basketball team staged a momentous comeback to stay alive in regulation, then took care of business in overtime to defeat Drexel 78-76 in a Women's National Invitation Tournament first round game Friday night in Philadelphia.

The Lady Pirates (23-10) made up an 18-point deficit in the final 6:23 to force the extra period. Sophomore center Jean Best sank a pair of three throws with five seconds left to punctuate the revival, knotting the score at 66-66.

East Carolina junior guard Allison Spivey's tip-in with two ticks remaining in overtime sealed the remarkable victory.

Sophomore guard Ashley Clarke score 16 points, all after halftime, Best had 15, sophomore forward Chareya Smith added 14 and junior forward Kim Gay recorded 12 for the Lady Pirates.

Senior forward Gabriela Marginean exploded for a game-high 35 points, junior guard Jasmina Rosseel scored 17 and sophomore guard Kamile Nacickaite contributed 10 for Drexel.

Marginean bowed out as the Lady Dragons' all-time leading scorer with 2,581 points.

Drexel (17-14) led at the half 27-26 and outscored East Carolina 32-15 over the first 13:32 of the second half before the teams' fortunes reversed. Best ignited the Lady Pirates' resurgence with two quick layups.

As the clock wound down in overtime, back-to-back baskets by Clarke gave East Carolina a five-point edge with 36 seconds remaining.

But the Lady Dragons quickly struck back with a trey by Rosseel and a jumper by Marginean to pull even with 11 seconds left, setting the dramatic stage for Spivey's game-winning basket nine seconds later.

In its first-ever foray past the first round of a postseason tournament, East Carolina advances to challenge Maryland on Sunday in College Park.

03/20/2010 04:36:51 AM


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