UAB ladies jump to 17-5 with win over ECU

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB women's basketball team polished off a season sweep of East Carolina on Thursday night with a 58-47 win over the Pirates at Bartow Arena.

The Blazers (17-5, 8-2 C-USA) won their fourth straight to remain in a second-place tie in the Conference USA standings with six games left, while East Carolina (6-17, 0-10 C-USA) suffered its 14th straight defeat.

UAB is now 17-5 for just the third time in program history and the first since 1993-94. The team's 8-2 league start is tied for the best in its C-USA history.

Junior guard Amber Jones scored a game-high 16 points as four Blazers reached double figures for the second time in three games. Karisma Chapman added 12 points, followed by LaShaunda Pratt and Kelsie Weynand with 11 each.

The Blazers cooled off in the second half after a hot shooting start, but they managed to hold on down the stretch to continue the program's best start in 18 years. The shooting performance was still twice as good as it was a month ago in the first meeting when UAB managed to pull out a road win at ECU despite shooting just 18 percent for the game.

UAB knocked down 10 of its first 12 shots from the floor Thursday and shot nearly 45 percent in the first half on its way to 40 percent for the night. The Blazers sank seven 3-pointers, their highest single-game total since hitting seven against Alabama A&M on Dec. 15.

Jones scored 10 of her points in the first half and Weynand came off the bench to score eight points in a four-minute span as the Blazers built a 35-21 lead at the break.

Weynand set a career-high for the second straight game after recording her previous career-best of 10 points in UAB's last outing at Marshall. She now has 21 points in the past two games after averaging 3.8 points through the team's first 20 contests.

The Blazers got off to a quick start in the second half, as well, knocking down 3-pointers on their opening two possessions to build their largest lead at 41-21.

East Carolina fought back to get the game within single digits and even got as close at six points at 50-44 on a Shala Hodges trey with 4:40 to play. But Jones scored an old-fashioned 3-point play on the next trip down the floor, and the Pirates never got closer than nine points again.

The Blazers managed to hold on despite committing 13 second-half turnovers and watching East Carolina shoot 48 percent in the second half to their 33.3 percent.

Kristine Mial led East Carolina with 13 points, while Chareya Smith added 10. Mial also had a game-high five steals for the Pirates. UAB senior center TaRonda Randall led all players in rebounds with seven.

The Blazers out-rebounded ECU, 38-29, and connected on 11 of 16 free throws compared to just 1 of 2 for the Pirates.

The Blazers go back on the road to play Sunday at UCF at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT) before returning to Birmingham for a pair of games next week.