GREENVILLE, N.C. – 14 home contests, eight games against 2007-08 postseason qualifiers, a trip to the Bahamas and the Seventh-Annual Lady Pirate Invitational help constitute the East Carolina women’s basketball schedule, released Wednesday by school officials.
The Lady Pirates commence their seventh season under the tutelage of head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener on Friday, Nov. 14 when they take on Hampton. The contest is part of a doubleheader with the men’s team, which will also open its season later that evening against Coker College.
ECU remains at home for its next two contests versus Appalachian State (Nov. 18) and Presbyterian (Nov. 21). First-year assistant coach Adrienne Shuler will face her former team in the Mountaineers, as she served as the program’s head coach for the past six seasons. The Lady Pirates will then make their first road trip of the year when they travel to Richmond, Va. to face Virginia Commonwealth on Nov. 25.
East Carolina returns to Minges Coliseum Nov. 28-29 as it hosts the Seventh-Annual Lady Pirate Invitational, welcoming North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central and Buffalo. The Lady Pirates begin the event by squaring off against the Eagles while the Aggies and Bulls battle in Friday’s other contest.
After completing its home tournament, ECU opens December by travelling to Virginia (Dec. 6) and UNC Wilmington (Dec. 14). The Gardner-Webb Bulldogs then serve as the Lady Pirates’ last home non-conference opponent when they make the trip to Greenville on Dec. 16.
A week before Christmas, East Carolina will trek to the tropical climate of the Bahamas as a participant in the Bahamas Sunshine Shootout. The squad will face Mercer on Dec. 19 and take on Florida Atlantic the next day. A week later, the Lady Pirates head south again, this time to Florida International University for the FIU Sun and Fun Classic. ECU battles Marist in the first contest on Dec. 29 while closing out the tournament Dec. 30 against either Georgia Southern or the host team.
Marshall will help the Lady Pirates ring in 2009 and the Conference USA schedule with a contest in Greenville on Jan. 3. East Carolina then travels to Tulsa (Jan. 8) and SMU (Jan. 10) for the first full weekend of conference play before completing the home and home series with the Thundering Herd Jan. 18 in Huntington, W.Va. The Lady Pirates return to the friendly confines of Minges Coliseum Jan. 22 against Memphis and two days later against UAB. January then closes with a road trip to UCF (Jan. 29) and Southern Miss (Jan. 31).
After defending C-USA Champion UTEP makes an appearance in Greenville Feb. 5, ECU travels to New Orleans and Fogelman Arena, the site of the 2009 C-USA Championship, to face off against Tulane. The next two weekends feature the completion of East Division series with the Golden Eagles and Knights (Feb. 13 and 15 in Greenville), as well as the Tigers and Blazers (Feb. 20 in Memphis and Feb. 22 in Birmingham).
The regular season then comes to an end with two contests in Minges Coliseum. The Lady Pirates tangle with Rice on Feb 26 while welcoming Houston for the regular season finale on Feb. 28.
“We are very excited about the challenging schedule in front of us,” Baldwin-Tener explained. “This non-conference schedule will definitely prepare us for our always-tough conference slate. By facing so many teams that made post-season play last year, we will be challenged early and often and hope to prepare for the strong teams in Conference USA.”
The quest for C-USA’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament culminates in the C-USA Championship March 5-8 on the campus of Tulane University at Fogelman Arena as East Carolina looks for its second tournament title and NCAA appearance in the last three seasons.