Jan. 12, 2011
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
Location: Fogelman Arena (3,600) New Orleans, La.
Series History: Tulane leads, 8-3
Last Time Against Tulane: L, 73-64 at 2010 C-USA Tournament (3/10/10)
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East Carolina Women's Basketball Gameday Central
NEW ORLEANS, La. - A rematch of the 2010 Conference USA Tournament semifinals is at hand Thursday as the East Carolina women's basketball team travels to New Orleans for a regular season league contest against Tulane at Fogelman Arena. Tipoff between the Pirates and Green Wave is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
Tulane has had the best of ECU lately, winning the last four meetings. The Pirates' were last victorious in the series Feb. 17, 2007 in Greenville, handing the Green Wave a 76-68 loss on the way to East Carolina's first-ever C-USA Tournament title a few weeks later. The Pirates have come close since then, as the Green Wave have won those four tilts by an average of 5.5 points.
The last time ECU traveled to New Orleans during the regular season, Tulane slipped past the Pirates 72-69, draining a three-point field goal with a two tenths of a second remaining in the contest. The Pirates seek their second win at Fogelman after winning there in 2004 by a 65-58 scoreline.
With 75 points scored against Memphis Sunday, ECU upped its league-leading scoring average to 75.1 points per game and is on track to set a single-season record for points scored. However, Tulane only allows 61.1 per contest - good for third in the C-USA rankings.
The Pirates, having lost three-straight games, are 6-9 overall entering the contest as well as 0-2 in C-USA action. Sophomore Ariana Jackson led the offense in Sunday's 87-75 loss to Memphis, scoring 16 points to lead three ECU players in double figures. Kim Gay and Ashley Clarke are tied for the squad lead in point production, with each averaging 11.3 per game. Gay also tops the team in rebounding at 6.2 per contest while Clarke has produced squad highs in steals (47) and assists (52). East Carolina owns the top scoring offense in C-USA at a 75.1 percent clip but is at the bottom of the rankings in defense, allowing 74.4. In their last three games, the Pirates have given up a total of 265 points while scoring 240 of their own. A bright spot all season has been turnover margin, as ECU owns a +3.9 in that category.
An experienced Tulane team posted an 11-2 nonconference record and kept things rolling as C-USA play started as the Green Wave posted wins over SMU and UAB. Four out of the five Tulane starters average double figures in points, led by senior Tiffany Aidoo's 14.4. Against the Blazers, she set a school single-game record with nine three-point field goals. That mark also tied the league's single-game standard. The Green Wave are a strong shooting squad, firing at .435 from the field, .340 beyond the arc and .678 at the free throw line. Tulane shares the ball well as a team as the Green Wave players have recorded 235 assists on 398 made baskets. Since a 78-72 loss to Louisiana Tech Dec. 17, Tulane has won six-straight and is 8-1 overall at home.
THE LAST MEETING (MARCH 10, 2010)...
The fifth-seeded East Carolina women's basketball team fell victim to a hot shooting top-seeded Tulane squad, falling 73-64 in the first semifinal of the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa. Allison Spivey hit three triples to set a new program single-season record at 62. Kim Gay led the Pirates in rebounding with eight, while making four of her eight field goal attempts to finish with eight points. Additionally, Celeste Stewart handed out a team-high four assists.
THE SERIES: TULANE
Today's contest marks the 11th in a series that began in 1986. The Lady Pirates trail Tulane 8-3 and the Green Wave has won six of the last seven meetings.
SUCCESS CLOSER TO HOME
Since Conference USA split into East and West divisions before the 2005-06 campaign, ECU has fared much better against its eastern neighbors. In five seasons, the Pirates have recorded a 42-28 (.600) mark against the eastern members while producing a 16-30 (.348) ledger vs. the western side.
In seven of its last eight contests, East Carolina has scored more points in the second half than the first. Overall, the second period has been more productive as the Pirates have netted 609 as compared to 518 in the first stanza. In terms of shooting, the Pirates have also fared much better in the second half of games, producing a higher percentage than in the first period in nine of 15 contests - including five of the last six starting against UCLA in Hawai'i.
LOADING UP ON FREEBIES
ECU has committed 381 personal fouls this season, leading to a staggering 494 free throw attempts for the opposition. Pirate foes are averaging 33 tries per game. In the conference opener at UTEP, the Miners went to the line 54 times and made 40 shots. Those marks were school records while tying the C-USA single-game mark. In the first two league contests, UTEP and Memphis were awarded 97 free throw attempts.
AMONG THE NATIONAL ELITE
In the latest release of the national rankings, ECU finds itself among the top 50 in a few categories. The Pirates are 26th in steals per game, 31st in scoring offense and 42ndth in turnover margin. Individually, Ashley Clarke is 23rd in steals per game.
THE PATH TO 600
East Carolina is just seven wins away from recording its 600th victory in program history.
ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
The Pirates took on some of the nation's best this season in nonconference play. According to realtimerpi.com, ECU's slate was ranked as the 51st-toughest in the country. Among the teams the Pirates faced were Maryland (9), UCLA (18), Charlotte (44) and UNC Wilmington (65). East Carolina also suffered close losses to Hampton (112) and American (115) while picking up victories over Prairie View A&M (119) and Western Carolina (133).
SIGNED AND SEALED
The Pirates have signed two top 65 position recruits in Courtney Melvin and Ja'Nesha Ebron as well as the No. 102 ranked forward from Columbus, Ohio, Tatiana Chapple. Melvin was ranked the No. 31 post player in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz while Ebron was tabbed No. 61 among guards by the same website. Both signees have North Carolina state championship game experience, as Melvin has led East Bladen High School to the last two title games (1A and 2A) and Ebron helped South Central to a 3A championship appearance. Current assistant coach Ann Hancock holds the scoring record at East Bladen with 2,276 but Melvin started the season just 547 points away from tying Hancock.
TAKE THE LEAD AND RUN
In all nine of their losses, the Pirates have trailed at the half. Conversely, they have won five games when leading at the break and one when the score was tied.
ALL IT TAKES IS 30
East Carolina converted 31 field goals against Florida A&M, marking the 26th time since the start of the 2006-07 campaign that the Pirates have accomplished the feat.
YOU'LL GET TO PLAY
It seems like the Pirate bench gets deeper with each passing season and is an extension of the starting five. There is some truth to that statement, as East Carolina's bench has outscored its opponents' benches in 63 of the last 79 games and 12 of 15 this year.
SHARING IS CARING
The Pirates recorded 28 assists on 36 made field goals against Massachusetts. It was just seven shy of the school record and the most since ECU tallied the same number against Houston-Baptist last season. Additionally, the Pirates turned the ball over just nine times for a stellar assist/turnover ratio of 3.1. The nine miscues were the fewest since Nov. 25, 2005 when East Carolina also recorded nine in a 71-68 overtime victory over Ohio University.
In hitting 12 three-point field goals against Virginia Union, the Pirates established a new program single-game record. However, just six days later, ECU did one better with 13 vs. Massachusetts then did it again against Florida A&M in Iowa. With one triple against Memphis, senior Allison Spivey remained second on the program career chart and is now eight away from sole possession of first-place.
GETTING IT DONE AWAY FROM MINGES SO FAR
With wins over Western Carolina, VCU and Hawai'i, ECU is 3-2 away from home. That will prove important as the Pirates enter the meat of their conference schedule as home teams accrued a 62-32 record last year in league play.
THE GOOD KIND OF OFFENSIVE
ECU owns the top two offensive outputs among C-USA teams this season with 102 points against Virginia Union and 97 vs. Massachusetts. The Pirates also boast one of the two highest single-game assist totals - 28 against the Minutewomen.
UP NEXT FOR THE PIRATES
ECU continues league play Sunday, hosting Rice at Minges Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Owls ruined the Pirates' 4-0 start to C-USA play last season, downing East Carolina 77-74 at Tudor Fieldhouse.