2009-10 Lady Pirate Preview: The Backcourt
Oct. 14, 2009
This is the second of three installments that will preview the upcoming season for the East Carolina women's basketball team. The final segment will analyze the Lady Pirate frontcourt.
For the past four years, Lady Pirate fans have grown accustomed to seeing Jasmine Young at the point guard position and LaCoya Terry on the wing. With the departure of the tandem that now ranks a respective third and fifth in the program annals in scoring, another dynamic duo, sophomores Ashley Clarke and Crystal Wilson, are poised to collect a significant amount of playing time. Clarke participated in every contest last season and picked up a team third-best 66 assists. Her ability to run an offense, slash to the basket and get to the free throw line will prove valuable to a young 2009-10 ECU squad. Wilson boasts great defensive ability, sitting third on last season's squad in steals (37) and was the recipient of the 2008-09 Lady Pirate Deflection Award.
Out on the wing, juniors Kelly Smith and Allison Spivey could prove to give teams matchup problems as both are accurate shooters. Spivey finished fourth on the squad in scoring last season, chipping in with 7.5 points per game while making 15 starts in 31 contests played. She is also dangerous beyond the arc, ranking second for East Carolina in three-point shooting percentage at .354 while firing at a .444 clip in conference play. Smith sat out last season after transferring from West Virginia, where she played and attended school for two seasons. With the Mountaineers, she took a redshirt her freshman year before returning to play in 25 of West Virginia's 33 games, including two NCAA Tournament tilts.
Rounding out the guard contingent for the Lady Pirates are three freshmen from North Carolina in Shala Hodges, Elaine Morgan and Celeste Stewart. Stewart, who hails from the highly-successful program at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., is a complete and talented player who will team with Clarke to provide a formidable presence at the point. Hodges, from Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C., is a mid-sized guard who can score at will and looks to establish depth at the two or three position. Additionally, Morgan, who was a teammate of Wilson at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, represents a versatile swing player who can either bring the ball up the floor or move out on the wing.
"Losing Jasmine and LaCoya from the backcourt is something we will have to deal with," Baldwin-Tener states. "This means that returners like Ashley, Allison and Crystal will need to play more prominent roles on our squad. I also look forward to seeing how our freshmen in Celeste, Elaine and Shala adjust to the collegiate style."