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Macy captures ECU wins mark

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East Carolina women's basketball coach Heather Macy during a timeout against Tulsa on Wednesday in Minges Coliseum.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

East Carolina coach Heather Macy had all kinds of thoughts running through her head during the final few minutes of her team’s 73-67 victory over Tulsa in Minges Coliseum on Wednesday night, which was understandable given the frantic nature after the game was tied at 63-63 and then saw ECU facing a 67-64 deficit with 1:11 remaining.

Becoming the Pirates’ all-time winningest women’s basketball coach was not prominent in the eighth-year coach’s thoughts at the time, but it was bound to hit at some point.

Freshman guard Lashonda Monk paved the way for Macy’s 127th victory at ECU — breaking the tie for first place with the Pirates’ previous coach in Sharon Baldwin-Tener — with a huge steal and spinning layup for a 68-67 edge at the 17-second mark. Tulsa turned the ball over on its next three possessions and the Pirates (9-8, 1-3 American Athletic Conference) iced the milestone win while also stopping a three-game losing streak to start conference play.

Things set in for Macy and ECU’s players when a tribute to the coach displayed on the Minges’ video boards shortly after the win.

“We were awkwardly standing in line and swaying and ready for the (fight song) … and then I looked up at the board,” said Macy, who had successful stints at Pfeiffer and Francis Marion before taking over the Pirates on April 30, 2010. “The girls and I kind of just had a moment to giggle through all of that because it took so long. It was cool, though.”

Macy is in her eighth season with the Pirates and the victory improved her to 127-110 for her tenure. Baldwin-Tener went 126-115 in eight full seasons from 2002-10.

Tulsa (8-9, 2-2), which had won four straight in the series against the Pirates, went up 65-63 with 1:55 remaining for its first lead since it was 5-4.

Salita Greene’s basket cut it to 67-66. Monk, who stepped up after junior starting point guard Alex Frazier went out with a leg injury with about 4 minutes remaining, got her steal around midcourt and raced to other end amid traffic in the lane and dropped in a layup for a 68-67 lead.

The brief comeback was needed despite the Pirates getting a command performance by post player Destiny Campbell (19 points, 10 rebounds) and them being in the lead for 35:03 of the 40 minutes.

“My total focus is helping this young team be as good as it can be at every single moment,” Macy said. “This is not an individual thing for me, but I think it’s a culmination of a lot of factors in play and a ton of support and community support and administrative support. It takes a lot of moving parts to do something of this nature.”

East Carolina scored 35 and 36 points, respectively, in its last two games, but Campbell and the Pirates came out firing with a 22-point first quarter.

It was 30-23 ECU at halftime after Tulsa shot 23.3 percent in the first half, and consecutive baskets by Frazier put ECU up by 12 a few minutes into the third quarter.

The Pirates doubled up Tulsa, 22-11, in the first quarter thanks to shooting 10-of-16 from the field. The period was defined by a 14-0 run by the hosts, turning Tulsa’s 5-4 edge into an 18-5 Pirate advantage after Justice Gee’s inside bucket.

Campbell totaled seven points and four rebounds in eight minutes off the bench during the period, setting the tone for a big night for her and Macy.

“We all look up to her and she’s very passionate,” Campbell said of Macy. “That’s what we all need as players.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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