Two teams heading in different directions

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014




Pirates shoot for six in a row

In order for the ECU women’s basketball team to stay afloat in a top-heavy Conference USA, the Pirates need to leave San Antonio on Thursday with a win.

Whether it’s a close overtime road win or a second half comeback at home, Head Coach Heather Macy’s team is finding ways to get it done, sitting at a a conference-best 21-3 record and one game behind Middle Tennessee in the conference standings.

After scoring just 22 first-half points, Saturday’s win against North Texas proved this team can navigate through adversity on the backs of some of the C-USA’s top scorers, Jada Payne and Abria Trice. Payne, who finished with her 13th 20-point performance of the season, came up big for her team, sinking much-needed free throws that ended up being the difference down the stretch. Trice finished with 17 of her own.

Despite the win, the Pirates looked vulnerable at times, shooting just 32.1 percent from the field. ECU needs to improve their shooting against UT-San Antonio (12-12, 3-8 C-USA) on Thursday, which is coming off its first win in the last seven tries.

The Roadrunners will lean on 5-foot-6 guard Kamara King in tomorrow’s matchup. King has recorded 15-plus points in each of her last three games, and is UTSA’s leading scorer at a 14.3 point per game clip.

With three scoring options for Macy in Payne, Trice and Shae Nelson, the Roadrunners likely won’t have enough offensive firepower to match the Pirates. That being said, UTSA has five players averaging over four rebounds per game, including two players that measure in a 6-foot-3 (Ashley Stephens and McKenzie Adams).

As long as Payne and Trice continue to produce, the Pirates should coast and pick up their seventh-straight win.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Nightmare season continues for the men

The ECU men’s basketball team will face the No. 1 team in the Conference USA on Thursday in Greenville, 12-5 (9-2 C-USA) Louisiana Tech.

Undoubtedly the toughest competition the team has faced since Middle Tennessee back in January, the Bulldogs bring the nation’s fourth-best scoring offense to the table, averaging more than 84 points per game. Louisana Tech also ranks No. 13 in the country in rebounding and No. 11 in assists.

For a team that has dropped eight of their last 10 games, Head Coach Jeff Lebo’s squad could be in for a long evening tomorrow. The Pirates were only able to get six points from their leader scorer, Akeem Richmond, during Saturday’s loss to North Texas, resulting in just 51 total points. On the other hand, the Bulldogs had four players with double-digit-point totals in a thirty-nine-point rout of Rice.

For the Pirates to pull out an improbable victory at Minges Coliseum, the team is going to have to outscore Louisiana Tech’s high-powered offense, a feat only Southern Methodist and UT-El Paso, two teams tied with the Bulldogs for first place, have been able to accomplish this season.

The Pirates will lean on freshman forward Caleb White, who is averaging 12.5 points per game, to not only continue his scoring, but rebound the basketball as well. White has scored double-digit points in nine of his last 10 games.

For the Bulldogs, sophomore guard Alex Hamilton, who is averaging 14.8 points per game, will be the offensive X-factor.

Unless three to four Pirates scoring double figures tomorrow, this is shaping up to be a blowout in Minges.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.