Defense dominates fourth quarter as EKU women down Transylvania
Colonels can't shake Pioneers until 20-4 fourth quarter run
RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ/EKU Athletics) – Eastern Kentucky outscored Transylvania 20-4 in the final 10 minutes of Thursday night’s season opener as the Colonels opened the Greg Todd Era with a 74-51 victory in McBrayer Arena.
Leading by five with 9:11 to play, EKU (1-0) put the game away with a 20-2 run. A transition layup from Kalissa Lacy off a Jayla Johnson assist gave EKU its first double-digit lead of the night, 59-49, with 6:35 remaining. The Colonel defense suffocated the Pioneers as Transylvania did not make a field goal in the final stanza.
Transylvania (1-1) took an early 4-3 lead, but was held scoreless for the next 3:29 as Eastern Kentucky rattled off 10 consecutive points. EKU limited the Pioneers to just five made field goals in the opening quarter and held a 21-13 lead after 10 minutes as Lacy banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer.
EKU’s lead dwindled to 29-25 midway through the second quarter before a Johnson three sparked a 6-0 Colonel run. Eastern Kentucky’s defense clamped down to keep Transylvania scoreless for the final 2:26 of the half as EKU took a 37-30 lead into halftime.
After Transylvania pulled within two with 5:57 left in the third quarter, the Colonels answered with seven consecutive points. I’Liyah Green’s layup at the 3:58 mark of the third quarter gave the Colonels their largest lead of the half at 48-39 and Johnson hit a jumper from the paint to put Eastern Kentucky up 54-47 entering the fourth quarter.
EKU shot 36.7 percent from the field for the game and held Transylvania to a 29.8 percent shooting performance, including an 0-for-10 effort in the fourth quarter.
Kayra Freeman led Eastern Kentucky with 11 points, while Lacy and Bria Bass each finished with 10 points. Ariel Kirkwood contributed 14 rebounds and eight points. Alice Recanati totaled a team-high five assists.
Kennedi Stacy led the Pioneers with 14 points while Madison Kellione and Grace Shope scored 11 each.
The Colonels make their first road trip of the season Sunday afternoon as they visit Northern Kentucky for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off.