GREENVILLE, N.C. –
Led by 29 combined points from freshmen Venla Varis
and Laura Piera
, the Grand Canyon women's basketball team suffered its first setback of the season in a 57-49 loss at East Carolina.
Freshman guard Venla Varis
led the Lopes (1-1) with 17 points, shooting 6 of 11 from the field and 5 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc. Freshman point guard Laura Piera
shot 5 of 7 from the field and tallied 12 points to go with a team-high four assists.
Senior center ShaRon Miller
added eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds.
ECU (3-0) took an 11-point lead in the first quarter, but the Lopes pushed back and finished the first 10 minutes trailing 20-18.
GCU tied the game at 24 with less than five minutes to play in the first half, but the Pirates went on a 10-point run to establish a hefty halftime 34-23 lead. Piera and Varis tallied eight points apiece in the first half.
The Lopes suffered a scoring drought in the third quarter that was broken by a layup from freshman Carla Balague
and followed by a Varis 3-pointer, which brought the Lopes within 13 at 46-33.
Varis went on to make two more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to bring GCU within seven points, 46-39, but the comeback fell short once ECU closed out the game with a 13-8 run.
The Lopes finish the two-game trip on Saturday with an 11 a.m. (Phoenix time) game at UNC Wilmington (2-1).