GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team continues to earn national respect at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, receiving seven votes in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, according to a release Tuesday by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Lady Pirates are off to a 4-0 start, having already defeated three teams that qualified for the NCAA (Charlotte, Western Carolina) and WNIT (American) Tournaments in 2009.
Prior to receiving one vote in this year’s preseason edition of the coaches poll and a total of five over two weeks last season, East Carolina had never been ranked or received votes. However, in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, the Lady Pirates were ranked for five weeks in 1982.
ECU entered the Top 20 that year at No. 19 on Jan. 27. After moving up to 18th a week later, the Lady Pirates fell out of the poll for two weeks until re-entering the chart on Feb. 24, again at No. 18. East Carolina would then rise to its highest-ever ranking, 17th on March 3, before finishing its run in the polls at No. 20. The Lady Pirates would later qualify for their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance at the end of that season.
SMU and Houston are the other Conference USA programs appearing in the poll this week as they earned eight and three votes, respectively.
East Carolina returns to Minges Coliseum Friday evening, Nov. 27, opening the Eighth-Annual Lady Pirate Invitational with a matchup against Bethune-Cookman at 5 p.m. ECU then faces Towson at 5:30 p.m. to close the event Saturday. Eastern Kentucky will also serve as a participant in the Invitational, as head coach Chrissy Roberts returns to Greenville after contributing six years as an assistant for the Lady Pirates from 2002-07.