GREENVILLE, N.C. – A rematch with the University of Maryland at Minges Coliseum, 15 home contests and a trip to Hawai'i help constitute the East Carolina women's basketball schedule, released by school officials Monday.
“We have put together a phenomenal non-conference schedule," head coach Heather Macy said. "First and foremost, with 10 teams that made postseason play last year, it’s a challenging schedule that I believe will prepare us for the travel in and toughness of the C-USA slate as well as get us ready for the postseason."
The Pirates play six of their first seven contests at home, beginning with an exhibition contest against Division II foe Mount Olive Nov. 6. ECU then opens the regular season Nov. 12 when American travels to Greenville. The Pirates defeated the Eagles in Washington, D.C., last year in a tight 70-65 decision.
A road game at Western Carolina precedes a four-game homestand in which East Carolina faces UNC Wilmington, Virginia Union, Maryland and Massachusetts. The latter two squads round out the field for the Pirates' annual Thanksgiving tournament as the contest against the Terrapins will be the second in as many seasons as the two programs met in the second round of the 2010 WNIT.
"Our fans will certainly have dates that they should highlight on their calendars," Macy stated. "We have some great trips planned along with some fantastic home contests. The annual ECU Thanksgiving tournament will definitely be an event Pirate fans will want to attend. Although it will be in a classic format this year, I know everyone will be ready to cheer on the Pirates as we host Maryland and Massachusetts.
East Carolina hits the road for a pair of tilts Dec. 2 and 5 at Virginia Commonwealth and Charlotte, respectively, before returning to Greenville Dec. 8 to face defending MEAC champion Hampton. Non-conference play then comes to an end as ECU travels to Hawai'i for the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Classic (Dec. 20-21) and the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge (Dec. 29-30). In Hilo, the Pirates battle UCLA and the host Rainbow Wahine before squaring off against Florida A&M and Prairie View A&M at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum just over a week later.
"Christmas time will certainly be fun-filled and action packed as we travel to Hawaii to face UCLA and the Rainbow Wahine," Macy added. "This trip will give the new staff a great opportunity to connect with players, families and boosters as well as provide the team with a wonderful cultural learning experience. We will also make the trek to Ames, Iowa to participate in the Iowa State tournament. For those folks who have never been to Ames, it is probably one of the most difficult places to play. They have tremendous crowd support and create a NCAA tournament type atmosphere for almost every game."
ECU commences its 10th season of Conference USA play Jan. 6 at UTEP. The game marks the first time the Pirates will play at the Don Haskins Center since the 2007-08 season. The league eliminated a travel partner based schedule for the 2010-11 campaign, but East Carolina will still contest home-and-home series with East Division opponents while traveling to Tulane and Houston as well as hosting Rice, SMU and Tulsa.
The Pirates will make another trip to El Paso for the 2011 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship March 9-12 at which the winner will receive the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. ECU last won the event in 2007, defeating SMU, UAB and Rice at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.