Pirates Make History with Successful Non-Conference Season - WNCN: News, Weather

Pirates Make History with Successful Non-Conference Season

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GREENVILLE, N.C. With a victory at College of Charleston last Thursday, the East Carolina women’s basketball team finished the non-conference season with a 12-1 record to mark the best non-league start in program history in more than 40 years.

During the 1972-73 season, the Pirates kicked off the year with an 18-0 ledger and made it all the way to the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Tournament after concluding the year 19-2. The AIAW was founded in 1971 to manage collegiate women’s athletics and administer national championships. With the enactment of Title IX in 1972, the AIAW grew in membership and acted as the equivalent for women’s college programs as the NCAA did for men’s.

Following the discontinuation of the AIAW, East Carolina women’s basketball began participation in the NCAA during the 1981-82 season and posted a 17-10 record. During the first few years in NCAA competition, the Pirates did not have a conference affiliation. East Carolina became part of the ECAC Conference in the 1983-84 season, and in its first two seasons in the league won back-to-back ECAC South Championship titles.

With the success had by the East Carolina women’s basketball program in its 44-year history, it is no surprise the Pirates have seen two NCAA Tournament appearances, a pair of WNIT showings, captured three conference titles and earned a National AIAW Tournament appearance. What makes the 2013-14 season stand out among the rest is that in the past four decades, the Pirates have never collected 12 non-conference victories prior to starting the conference season since beginning NCAA competition.

“We are so honored to be mentioned with some of the all-time great teams at East Carolina,” ECU head women’s basketball coach Heather Macy stated. “We are so pleased to be a part of the history and tradition that comes with being a Pirate.”

The Pirates’ 12 wins thus far are only matched by the top teams in the nation. In the AP Top 25 poll, there are only nine other teams with 12 or more wins this season including No. 1 Connecticut (13-0), No. 3 Duke (12-1), No. 6 Kentucky (12-1), No. 7 Louisville (13-1), and No. 8 Maryland (12-1). In addition to having the same record as some of the perennial powerhouses in the NCAA, the Pirates also boast the most victories in Conference USA as they occupy first place in the league.

Seven of East Carolina’s 12 wins have come inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates are 7-0 when playing in Greenville this season and have not lost a game at home in more than a year. In fact, ECU has won 20 straight contests at Minges Coliseum dating back to November 17, 2012.

“While 12 wins are definitely an accomplishment, we feel like we are just getting started as we prepare to start conference play,” Macy said. “Our focus has been narrowed to where we attempt to be a better basketball team each day.”

East Carolina, which is on a four-game winning streak, is looking to bring its non-conference success into league play as the Pirates enter Conference USA action on Wednesday, January 8, when the Pirates host Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m.

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