March 2, 2011
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East Carolina Women's Basketball Gameday Central
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|Three-Point Field Goal Pct.
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Time: 8:00 p.m. ET Thursday, March 3, 2011
Location: Bartow Arena (8,500) Birmingham, Ala.
Series History: East Carolina leads, 12-7
Last Time Against UAB: W, 71-64 (1/27/11 at Greenville, N.C.)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The regular season comes to an end Thursday as East Carolina travels to Birmingham for a crucial showdown against UAB.
Separated by just one game in the standings, both squads look to improve their seeding for the upcoming Conference USA Tournament in El Paso. With a victory, ECU can finish as high as fourth-place if Rice and Memphis lose on the road at SMU and UCF, respectively. However, the Pirates would drop to sixth or seventh if they lose.
East Carolina found itself in a defensive struggle Sunday, but came out with a 48-44 victory over Marshall to finish the home schedule 9-5, including seven-straight wins in league play. A crowd of 2,861 took in the contest, the 10th-largest attendance number in program history. With the triumph, ECU finished 7-1 at home in conference action, matching the 2008-09 season's squad. The Pirates have also ended up victorious in 20 of their last 24 league affairs at Minges Coliseum.
The 48 points represent the lowest output in a victory since East Carolina knocked off UAB 47-46 in the first round of the 2006 C-USA Tournament.
ECU took the first meeting with the Blazers in Greenville this year, 71-64, but lost at Bartow Arena last season by a score of 65-57.
The Pirates are 14-14 overall entering the contest as well as 8-7 in C-USA action. In winning seven of its last 10 league games, ECU is tied for fifth in the standings with Memphis and can finish anywhere from fourth to seventh place with one game remaining. Junior Jean Best notched her first double-double of the season in the win over Marshall with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Leading scorer Kim Gay, who dropped in 11 Sunday, has netted double figures 14-straight games. East Carolina is averaging 70.8 points per game while giving up 69.4. In league games, the Pirates rankin the top three in both field goal percentage (Third/.420) and field goal percentage defense (Second/.374). Free throw shooting has also been a bright spot in conference contests as ECU sits second with a percentage of .715.
UAB is 15-13 overall and 7-8 in league contests after downing Memphis 59-45 on the road Sunday. The Blazers have enjoyed some recent success, having taken wins in six of their last eight appearances. Sophomore Amber Jones leads the squad in scoring at 11.7 points per game along with senior Amanda Peterson who is also netting double figures on average with 10.4. Meagan Brown has pulled down a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game but as a team, UAB is in the negative in rebounding margin (-1.7). The Blazers are scoring just 59.4 points per game but give up only 56.2, relying on defense first. In terms of shooting, UAB is 38 percent from the field, 32 percent from beyond the arc and 59 percent from the charity stripe.
THE LAST MEETING (JANUARY 27, 2011)...
East Carolina led wire to wire and shot 55 percent in the second half to record a 71-64 Conference USA victory over UAB Thursday at Minges Coliseum. Senior Allison Spivey netted a season-high 20 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field. She also knocked down four three-point field goals to move her career total to 166 - just one away from tying Jasmine Young for the program career record. Kim Gay and Ashley Clarke scored in double figures as well with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Gay and Spivey corralled a team-high seven rebounds each.
THE SERIES: UAB...
Today's contest marks the 20th in a series that began in 1979. The Pirates lead 12-7 and have won six of the last seven meetings. ECU is 2-4 all-time against UAB at Bartow Arena.
AS IT STANDS NOW...
Here is a quick look at the league standings and how teams would match up for the first round of the tournament if it began today.
1. Houston (15-0)
2. UCF (11-4)
3. Tulane (9-6)
4. Rice (9-6)
5. Memphis (8-7)
6. East Carolina (8-7)
7. UAB (7-8)
8. SMU (7-8)
9. UTEP (6-9)
10. Southern Miss (5-10)
11. Marshall (4-11)
12. Tulsa (1-14)
(5) Memphis vs. (12) Tulsa (Winner Plays Rice)
(6) East Carolina vs. (11) Marshall (Winner Plays Tulane)
(7) UAB vs. (10) Southern Miss (Winner Plays UCF)
(8) SMU vs. (9) UTEP (Winner Plays Houston)
ECU BENEFITS FROM JEAN'S BEST...
Jean Best has scored in double figures seven times this season. In those games, the Pirates hold a 4-3 record with two of the losses against then No. 8 UCLA and at defending C-USA champion Tulane.
A NEW LOW...
Marshall's 43 points are the least ECU has ever allowed in a Conference USA road contest. The previous mark was 52 by Southern Miss when the Pirates went down to Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg and won a 68-52 decision on Feb. 22, 2007.
FREE THROWS DO INDEED WIN BALLGAMES...
In 13 of the last 19 games, ECU has hit over 70 percent of its free throw attempts. The Pirates put up a season and C-USA-best 94-percent performance at Tulane, knocking down 16 of 17 from the charity stripe. In C-USA games, East Carolina is second in the league with a 72-percent mark, with Houston in the lead at 73 percent.
LIVING IN THE SIXTIES...
Before scoring just 52 points in the loss at UCF, the Pirates had reached the 60-point plateau in 25-straight contests. The last time East Carolina did not reach 60 points prior to the game in Orlando was an 87-52 loss at Maryland in the second round of the 2010 WNIT. In comparison, the 2009-10 squad failed to score at least 60 in a contest nine times. The Pirates scored a season-low 48 points against Marshall Sunday.
GETTING ON THE GLASS...
In the last 13 games, ECU has out-rebounded its opponent by an average of 2.2 (524-496). In the three prior contests, opponents enjoyed a +9.7 margin - including five more offensive boards.
CONFERENCE USA: THE 10TH SEASON...
East Carolina is in its 10th year as a basketball member of C-USA. Starting in 2001, the Pirates became eligible to compete for the league title after contributing 17 years as a constituent of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Four years ago, ECU finished third in the regular season standings, its highest ranking since joining the conference. The Pirates also notched their first league tournament title with 79-70 triumph over Rice in the 2007 championship game at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
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 47-30 (.610) mark against the eastern members while producing a 19-32 (.373) ledger vs. the western side.
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 held the scoring record at East Bladen with 2,276 but Melvin broke it in the first half of a recent win - scoring the needed layup at the halftime buzzer.
The Pirates can certainly call themselves a "second half" team this year. ECU has scored 1,061 points in the second stanza and 916 in the first. East Carolin has also found itself behind at the break in four of the last seven games.
WIRE TO WIRE...
In four of the Pirates' 10 wins this season, they have led the entire game. Virginia Union, Massachusetts, Prairie View and UAB were the teams that could not manage a lead against ECU.
PAY ATTENTION DOWN THERE AT THE END...
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 72 of the last 92 games and 20 of 27 this year.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE THAT WITH THE WHOLE TEAM?...
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 Pirates are averaging 15.9 assists per game in conference play and have recorded at least 20 helpers five times during that stretch.
I'LL TAKE THREE, THANKS...
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 and at home against Southern Miss. With four triples at Marshall senior Allison Spivey took over sole possession of first-place on the program ledger.
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 61-point margin of victory against the Panthers was the third-largest in program history and 12th-widest in the league annals. The Pirates also boast one of the two highest single-game assist totals - 28 against the Minutewomen. Additionally, the 91 points scored against Southern Miss were the most by a C-USA team in a conference game this season.
TAKE THE LEAD AND RUN...
In 13 of their 14 losses, the Pirates have trailed at the half. Conversely, they have won 12 games when leading at the break and one when the score was tied. ECU finally broke through and emerged victorious when trailing at the half Sunday against Marshall.
ALL IT TAKES IS 30...
East Carolina converted 32 field goals against SMU, marking the 28th time since the start of the 2006-07 campaign that the Pirates have accomplished the feat.
UP NEXT FOR THE PIRATES...
Having completed regular-season play, East Carolina travels to El Paso, Texas for the second time this year - this time for the 2011 Buick Conference USA Championship. The Pirates' seed and opponent will be announced late Thursday night or Friday. ECU reached the semifinals of the league tournament last season, defeating No. 12 Southern Miss and No. 4 Memphis before falling to eventual champion and top-seeded Tulane.