Nov. 12, 2009
ECU Women's Basketball Gameday Central
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team officially christens a new season Friday night at 8 p.m. as it plays host to 2009 Atlantic 10 tournament champion and former Conference USA rival Charlotte at Minges Coliseum.
The Lady Pirates return three starters from last season's squad that accumulated an overall record of 18-13 and won the most regular season games (17) in head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener's tenure at ECU. Sophomore Jean Best, a 2008-09 C-USA All-Freshman Team selection, leads all returners in scoring (8.4 ppg) while junior Kim Gay paced the team in rebounds last season (5.2 rpg). Additionally, Baldwin-Tener needs just eight more wins to become the winningest head coach in program history.
East Carolina and Charlotte meet for the 30th time in a series that dates back to 1983 and includes nine contests that occurred when the 49ers were members of Conference USA. Charlotte holds a commanding 22-7 lead and has won seven of the last eight contests, including the series' only neutral site matchup in the first round of the 2004 C-USA Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.
ABOUT SEASON OPENERS
EAST CAROLINA AGAINST THE ATLANTIC 10
East Carolina has won its last two season openers and looks to extend that streak to three for the first time since 1981-83. The Lady Pirates are also beginning the campaign at home for the third-straight season, something that has not occurred since the same three-year stretch in the 1980's. ECU boasts a 30-11 (.732) in the first home contest of each season, but is just 20-21 (.488) in true campaign lid-lifters.
The Lady Pirates hold an all-time mark of 32-53 (.376) against current
members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. ECU has faced Charlotte (7-22), Dayton (2-0), Duquesne (1-1), George Washington (1-2), La Salle (0-1), Massachusetts (2-0), Rhode Island (1-0), Richmond (17-24) and Saint Louis (1-3) while the Lady Pirates have never seen Fordham, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph's, Temple or Xavier on the opposite bench. East Carolina is familiar with the 49ers and the Billikens, as the squads squared off as members of C-USA from 2002-05. Additionally, the Lady Pirates will participate in the Fordham Holiday Classic in December, but are not scheduled to face the host Rams.
LADY PIRATES VERSUS THEIR FELLOW TAR HEELS
ECU owns a 206-143 (.590) ledger when facing other squads from North Carolina. The Lady Pirates have taken on Appalachian State (28-10), Barton (9-1), Campbell (31-6), Charlotte (7-22), Chowan (4-0), Davidson (1-2), Duke (9-6), Elon (6-2), Fayetteville State (3-1), Gardner-Webb (4-0), High Point (9-4), Meredith (2-0), North Carolina (11-16), UNC Asheville (2-0), UNC Greensboro (16-5), UNC Pembroke (2-0), UNC Wilmington (28-19), North Carolina A&T (10-5), NC Central (5-0), N.C. State (6-32), Wake Forest (6-3) and Western Carolina (7-9).
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
East Carolina sports a 268-160 (.626) record inside Minges Coliseum since the arena opened in 1975. Last season, the squad went 12-2 (.857) at home, matching the second-most single-season home wins in program history. The Lady Pirates are 295-163 (.644) when playing in Greenville, spending their first six seasons at an on-campus alternate site while Minges was erected. ECU has been equally effective on its home court under Baldwin-Tener, having accumulated a 61-34 (.642) mark, including a 32-21 (.604) ledger against C-USA competiton.
ON THEIR WAY TO SEE THE LADY PIRATES PLAY
It could be said that one reason for East Carolina's sparkling home record was the fan support given by the Greenville and surrounding communities. The Lady Pirates welcomed 22,434 fans to Minges Coliseum last season, an average of 1,602 per contest. That figure led Conference USA and was 86th nationally among Division I schools.
Best grabbed the attention of C-USA quickly her rookie season, leading the entire league in field goal percentage while also ranking sixth (first among freshmen) in
blocked shots per contest. Best also ranked third on the Lady Pirate squad in scoring and rebounding. Her 47 blocks were the sixth-most in single season in the East Carolina annals and the most since Jen Cox's 50 in 1997-98.
CONFERENCE USA: THE NINTH SEASON
East Carolina is in its ninth season as a basketball member of C-USA. Starting in 2001, the Lady Pirates became eligible to compete for the league title after contributing 17 years as a constituent of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). During the past eight seasons, ECU has made seven-straight appearances in the C-USA Tournament and two years ago, finished third in the regular season standings, its highest ranking since joining the conference. The Lady 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.