Feb. 10, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- UAB junior forward Ashley Grimes heated up late in the first half and never stopped on her way to a career-high 31 points, leading the Blazers’ women’s basketball team to a 62-58 win against East Carolina on Sunday.
With the victory, UAB snaps a three-game losing skid and improves to 14-8 overall and 5-4 in Conference USA action. The Pirates fall for the first time in five games and move to 16-6, 6-3 in C-USA play.
“I have said it time and time again, but Ashley Grimes is the most modest and humble player I have ever coached,” UAB head coach Audra Smith said. “She put us on her back today and rose up for us big time in a huge game for our team.”
Grimes shot 11-for-18 (61 percent) from the floor and finished with six rebounds to go with her 31 points, helping her team in a game that featured four ties and 10 lead changes.
“After the loss in Dallas (to SMU in triple overtime), we came together as a team and decided that we are going to look forward,” Smith added. “Today, we grinded it out and showed the attitude and aggression that it takes to win in this league.”
UAB started the game sluggish as East Carolina built a sizable lead, 27-17, with 5:43 left before halftime. The Blazers went six and a half minutes without a basket during that time frame, while the Pirates hit 12-of-20 (60 percent) to open the contest.
Led by Grimes, UAB heated up in the final five minutes of the opening stanza. The Selma, Ala., native scored 16 first-half points and spearheaded a 12-4 run to close the ECU advantage to 31-29 at the break.
UAB’s advantage did not last long, however, as East Carolina battled back to take as much as a five-point lead, 49-44, with just under 10 minutes to go. In fact, ECU led for the next eight minutes, until Blazer senior Amber Jones hit a jumper at the 2:24 mark to give her squad a 57-56 advantage.
The Blazers did not trail the rest of the way, however, hanging on for a 62-58 win after Grimes knocked in three free-throws in the final 12 seconds to seal the victory.
Jones finished the game with 14 points and six rebounds for UAB, while senior Michaela Kleist scored eight points and tallied four rebounds in the win.
East Carolina had two players in double figures with 27 combined points from sisters Whitny and Britny Edwards.
UAB now gets set for a road contest at Memphis on Thursday. Tip time between the Blazers and Tigers is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.