March 2, 2010
ECU Women's Basketball Gameday Central
Game Notes in PDF Format
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The East Carolina women's basketball team closes out the 2009-10 regular season with a crucial showdown at Marshall Wednesday evening. Tipoff from the Cam Henderson Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
ECU defeated the Herd 78-54 in Greenville earlier this season in the league opener for both squads. With a win over Marshall Wednesday, it would ensure the first 20-win season for the program since the 1991-92 team won 21 games.
The Lady Pirates can clinch at least fifth-place in the league standings and a victory, coupled with a Houston loss against Rice Thursday, would slso secure a first-round bye for ECU, as the Lady Pirates won a 94-87 decision in overtime at Houston earlier this season.
This scenario would not be possible, however, without the heroics of junior Kim Gay who had a career night in the thrilling 77-76 overtime win at Memphis at the FedExForum last Saturday. She put in a career-best 26 points while also grabbing a personal-high 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Her fourth three-pointer of the game served as the game-winner, as the Eastman, Ga., native drilled an NBA-range three with three seconds showing on the extra session clock.
Jean Best netted 13 points and 11 in the second period while Allison Spivey pulled down a team second-best seven rebounds. Ashley Clarke also distributed a career-high matching 11 assists.
The Lady Pirates outshot the Tigers 45.5-43.7 while the rebounding battle ended up tied at 43. East Carolina also recorded 19 assists to 10 for Memphis.
Five players are currently scoring 7.4 or more points per game for the Lady Pirates, led by Clarke's 11.8. Spivey is also putting in double figures with 10.9 per contest. Both players are approaching single-season milestones as Clarke needs three assists to move into 10th-place on the charts while Spivey sits just four triples away from setting the record for three-point field goals made in a season. She has 56 as of today.
ECU leads the league in scoring average (70.9 points per game) as well as field goal percentage (.455). The Lady Pirates have also recorded 444 assists to only 345 for their opponents. The turnover bug has been a problem, however, as East Carolina ranks last in C-USA in turnover margin (-3.2).
Marshall enters the contest looking to regain its footing, having lost six of its last seven affairs. However, history is on the Herd's side as the Lady Pirates have never won in the Cam Henderson Center.
Junior Tynikki Crook has recovered nicely from injury and leads Marshall with 12.8 points per game. She also paces the squad on the boards, pulling down 7.5 over 21 contests. Additionally, junior Mystee Dale has handed out a team-best 89 assists.
The Herd shoot the ball well, converting 40.6 of their field goals, while also owning a positive rebounding margin at +3.5 per game. However, Marshall has struggled to score, putting in just 59.9 points a contest. Turnovers have also been a concern for the Herd, as the team sports a 17.3 average.
THE SERIES: MARSHALL
ECU and Marshall will meet for the 13th time in a series that began in 1980. The all-time ledger is tied at six wins for each team and the squads have split the last six meetings.
AT THEIR PLACE
The Lady Pirates are credited with a 276-330 (.455) record away from Greenville since the program began before the 1969-70 campaign. In 2008-09, ECU was 3-9 in true road contests while 3-2 at neutral sites. Since Baldwin-Tener took over the reigns, the Lady Pirates are 48-76 (.387) in front of non-partisan crowds. The team was just 1-7 in league games on the road last season, salvaging a 70-60 win at UAB in the final conference away contest of 2008-09. However, the Lady Pirates have picked up two conference wins away from Minges this season.
ROAD TRIPS NOT KIND
Over the past three seasons, conference play on the road has been a thorn in East Carolina's side. Since the start of league action in 2007-08, the Lady Pirates have picked up just five wins away from Minges Coliseum in 23 tries.
KEEP THEM OFF THE GLASS
In 15 conference games this season, the Lady Pirates have given up 230 offensive rebounds, an average of 15.3 per contest. That mark has led to 206 second chance points for opponents.
VALUE EVERY POSSESSION
ECU has reached the 20-turnover mark 19 times this season, including 31 against Tulane. That has led to a turnover margin of -3.2 - the worst mark in the league. Additionally, teams have scored 525 points off of those giveaways.
MAKING IT RUN
Ashley Clarke has steadily improved during her sophomore campaign, having a greater ability to make the offense go this season. Of the Lady Pirates' 709 field goals, Clarke has made or assisted on 269 of them, a percentage of .380. Allison Spivey has the second-best mark on the squad at .264 (187-of-709).
ECU has used its balance to its advantage this season. The Lady Pirates have five players averaging 7.4 or more points per game while every member of the 2009-10 roster played, scored and had a rebound in the 103-59 win over Houston-Baptist. There are also five players averaging nearly 20 minutes per game. In C-USA games, nearly three players are putting in double figures in scoring.
SOME REALLY CLOSE CALLS
The Lady Pirates have lost seven conference contests, but five of them have been by 10 points or less. Excluding the 14-point loss at SMU, East Carolina has dropped a three-point decision at Rice, four-point defeats at Southern Miss and against Tulsa, a five-point tilt to Tulane, an eight-point stumble at UAB and a 10-point loss at UCF. ECU's margin of defeat in conference play currently stands at 5.7 points per game. The Lady Pirates have a game left against Marshall, which they have already beaten, but it is on the road where they are just 2-5 in league play thus far.
UP NEXT FOR THE LADY PIRATES
After facing Marshall in Huntington Wednesday, the Lady Pirates will have to wait for the outcome of Thursday's final contests to learn their seeding and opponent for the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament. ECU could finish has high as fourth or as low as seventh, depending on its outcome against Marshall and Rice's tilt at crosstown rival Houston. If the Lady Pirates win and the Owls knock off the Cougars, East Carolina would claim fourth-place and the final first round-bye in the tournament. However, with a loss, the Lady Pirates could fall into the seventh spot due to tiebreaking scenarios with UAB and Rice, teams that have defeated ECU this season.
When the Lady Pirates won the C-USA Tournament in 2007, they benefitted from one of the first-round byes, finishing the regular season in third. This year's event is scheduled for March 8-12 at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa. East Carolina has fond memories there as it defeated Rice 79-70 in the championship game to qualify for its second-ever NCAA Tournament.