March 7, 2010
ECU Women's Basketball Gameday Central
Complete Game Notes In PDF Format
TULSA, Okla. - The fifth-seeded East Carolina women's basketball team opens play at the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Monday, taking on 12 seed Southern Miss at 3:30 p.m. at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla. The five seed represents the second-highest for the program since joining the league prior to the 2001-02 season.
The Lady Pirates and Golden Eagles split a pair of affairs this season, with each team winning on its home court. ECU took a 76-50 decision in Greenville Jan. 8 while Southern Miss responded with a 59-55 victory Feb. 4 in Hattiesburg. The teams have never met in the postseason.
East Carolina enters the tournament looking to win its first round or quarterfinal matchup for the third time in four seasons. Additionally, the last time the event was held in Tulsa, the Lady Pirates defeated Rice 79-70 in the championship contest to secure its second-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Ashley Clarke, who recently earned Seocnd-Team All-C-USA honors and Defensive Team accolades, paces the league-leading ECU offense, putting in 11.6 points per game while junior Allison Spivey also averages double figures at 10.6. Junior Kim Gay leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.6 per contest and in league matchups, Clarke averages 6.4. The sophomore is also tops in C-USA in assists per game with 5.6 per game.
The Lady Pirates are scoring 71.1 points per game this year and are shooting the ball at 45.8 efficiency from the field while holding opponents to 37.8 percent. East Carolina also shows well on the glass, picking up nearly 40 rebounds a game and owning a +5.2 rebounding margin. However, turnovers have plagued the Lady Pirates all season, as they average 21.2 but that has been offset by 460 assists, 101 more than their opponents.
First-Team All-C-USA honoree Pauline Love leads three Southern Miss players in double figures, averaging 17.8 points. Candace Rucker (11.5) and Tanesha Washington are the other two Golden Eagles that are over the 10-points per game plateau. Love is also an effective rebounder, pulling down 12.9 a game.
Southern Miss scores 63.5 points per game but allows 68.9. It has battled its opponents to a virtual deadlock on the glass, owning a -0.2 rebounding margin. The Golden Eagles shoot well from the line, making 68.1 percent of their free throw attempts, as well as 41 percent from the field.
East Carolina leads the overall series between the teams 8-6.
KEEP THEM OFF THE GLASS
In conference games this season, the Lady Pirates have given up 252 offensive rebounds, an average of 15.8 per contest. That mark has led to 231 second chance points for opponents.
VALUE EVERY POSSESSION
ECU has reached the 20-turnover mark 20 times this season, including 31 against Tulane. That has led to a turnover margin of -3.5 - the worst mark in the league and one of the bottom in the nation. Additionally, teams have scored 546 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' 735 field goals, Clarke has made or assisted on 276 of them, a percentage of .376. Allison Spivey has the second-best mark on the squad at .257 (189-of-735).
IN LIVING COLOR...ECU ON TV
The Lady Pirates are currently scheduled to make two appearances on television this season. CBS College Sports televised East Carolina's 78-54 victory over Marshall on Jan. 4 as well as the thrilling 77-76 overtime win at the FedExForum against Memphis Feb. 27. Additionally, the 2010 Conference USA semifinals and championship contest at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla., are slated for live broadcast by CBS College Sports. Last season, the Lady Pirates made four television appearances, falling at SMU (TWC Dallas) and Tulane (WITN), while picking up home wins over Southern Miss (WITN) and Rice (CBS C).
FIRST TO 30...FIELD GOALS
East Carolina converted 30 field goals at Memphis, marking the 21st time since the start of the 2006-07 campaign that the Lady Pirates have accomplished the feat. The last three occurrences have been in overtime.
LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN JUST ONE YEAR
A couple of the Lady Pirate players have moved into the top 10 in the single season ECU ledgers. Allison Spivey is third in three-point field goals made with 57, just two behind leader Jennifer Jackson. Additionally, Kim Gay is fifth in free-throw percentage at .794 and Ashley Clarke is ninth in assists with 161. Clarke is within striking distance of former teammate Jasmine Young, who put up the fifth-best total with 186 in the 2007-08 campaign.
AMONG THE NATIONAL LEADERS
The Lady Pirates are among the top 50 in many categories in the latest national rankings. ECU is 11th in three-point field goal percentage, 17th in field goal percentage, 21st in assists per game, 32nd in three-point field goal defense, 36th in rebound margin and 45th in scoring offense. Additionally, Allison Spivey ranks ninth in three-point field goal percentage while Ashley Clarke sits 17th in assists per game.
THE C-USA EXPERIENCE
East Carolina is one of the two least-experienced squads in the league. However, that has not fazed the Lady Pirates as they recorded a 20-win season which included six victories over 2009 postseason participants in addition to a conference tournament finalist. Below is a breakdown of C-USA experience, with 1 point being given to freshmen, two to sophomores, three to juniors and four to seniors. Redshirting is not considered. C-USA is a fairly young league, with 40 freshmen, 44 sophomores, 52 juniors and only 26 seniors.
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 lost seven conference contests, but five of them were by 10 points or less. Excluding the 14-point loss at SMU, East Carolina 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 was 5.7 points per game.
UP NEXT FOR THE LADY PIRATES
If the Lady Pirates can defeat Southern Miss Monday, they will go up against the tournament's No. 4 seed Memphis in the quarterfinals. ECU has made three quarterfinal appearances in eight tourney appearances, but has only advanced to the semifinals and championship game once. East Carolina has won its first contest of the event two out of the last three seasons.