The East Central women's basketball team shook off a short-lived second-half funk and charged past St. Gregory’s 79-49 Tuesday night inside the Kerr Activities Center.
Interim head coach Emily Holombek saw her team improve to 2-0 on the young season, while the Cavaliers left town at 0-3.
ECU appeared to be on its way to a blowout early in the second half, when Janee Garza sank a 3-pointer at the 14:18 mark to give the hosts a comfortable 46-29 lead.
Maybe the Lady Tigers got too comfortable.
St. Gregory’s stormed back, taking advantage of several minutes of ineffective ECU offensive possessions and a handful of turnovers to use a 15-5 surge to get within 51-44 on a trey by Stacy Lee at the 9:25 mark. St. Gregory’s even had a possession to further slice into the lead, but the Cavaliers didn’t score.
“We lost our aggressiveness. We started settling for shots. We weren’t making the defense work. We were turning it over and not rebounding,” Holombek said, listing a number of reasons for the Cavaliers’ momentary comeback. “We’ve got to keep attacking and getting the shots we want.”
That turned out to be the last hurrah for the Cavaliers.
Dilan Webster hit a 3-pointer off a nice assist from Alex Tucker and scored in the lane after grabbing a deflected pass on ECU’s next trip down the floor, igniting a game-ending 26-3 run to put the visitors away.
“We ran the floor really well. We really capitalized off turnovers. We hit outlet boxes and got down the court,” Holombek said of the strong finish.
Ada High graduate Erin Walling scored seven of her 10 points in the final four minutes of the contest for ECU and was one of five Lady Tigers to reach double figures.
Alycea Price got free in the paint for 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Ashley Robison and Tucker added 11 points apiece. Tucker added eight assists and four steals.
Webster scored 12 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
ECU also had an impressive 22 assists on 29 made baskets.
The Lady Tigers dominated the boards for the second game in a row, outrebounding St. Gregory’s by a 45-27 count.
“That’s great to see because that’s the one thing we’ve been hounding them about since the middle of last year. If I’ve said one word 50 times a day, it’s rebound. It’s great to see that’s paying off,” Holombek said.
The first-year head coach said during the preseason that she’d like to see ECU win at least 20 games this season. Two down, 18 to go.
"I’m very pleased. They’ve played very well," she said.
St. Gregory’s got 16 points and seven rebounds out of post player Danielle Patillo, while Tori Huff sank a trio of 3-pointers and reached double figures with 12.
The Lady Tigers are back in the Kerr Center Saturday afternoon, hosting Rogers State at 2 p.m.