Due to the stormwater runoff from all these late afternoon thunderstorms there have been multiple sighting of the Loch...

WOODWARD: Youth movement provides timely spark

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East Carolina freshman guard Lashonda Monk scores against Cincinnati on Dec. 30, 2017.


The Daily Reflector

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The East Carolina women’s basketball team will honor three players for senior day today before taking on underdog Temple for the Pirates’ final home game of the season.

Mickayla Sanders, Thais Oliveira and Tania Pierre-Emile all transferred to ECU, which is consistent with previous recruiting tactics for the Pirates under eighth-year coach Heather Macy.

But looking on from the bench during the pregame festivities will be seven freshmen or sophomores, and most of them have played huge roles in the Pirates exceeding expectations with their 15-12 record and 7-7 mark in the American Athletic Conference. Sparked by these underclassmen during league play, ECU is tied for sixth place in the AAC standings despite being picked last in the American preseason poll.

This could be Macy’s best coaching job yet, and it has reversed the trajectory of the program after consecutive worrisome seasons.

The Pirates turning to their youth has showed promise for long-term sustainability and a shift from the quick-fix ways of the past, which was accompanied by great success but also high-risk pitfalls.

Jada Payne, Abria Trice, twins Britny and Whitny Edwards and others were great transfer gets for Macy and ECU, and it worked well in Conference USA. The Pirates even went 11-7 in their first year in the American in 2014-15 to cap the best three-year run in school history.

But the grind of the American proved that long-term vision was needed. Roster and staff turnover was costly for ECU, and things hit rock-bottom in 2017 when the Pirates finished 2-14 in the AAC for their lowest conference win total since 1994.

As the Pirates struggled to find wins on the court, Macy excelled in recruiting with an emphasis on finding the right high-schoolers.

Those recruits form the core of this team, from junior guard Alex Frazier to sophomore starter Dominique Claytor to freshmen scoring standouts Lashonda Monk, Necole Hope and Ariyana Williams.

ECU’s four freshmen are important now and their progression is paramount for the future. At various times this season, rookies have shown the ability to carry the team.

It has been impressive to watch, especially Monk and Hope as of late.

The seniors deserve their big moment today. All seniors do as they are on short time with their careers.

It’s also refreshing to see young East Carolina women’s basketball players who are bustling with potential and are years away from exhausting their eligibility.

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


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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


June 25, 2018

Celeste Stewart already has had a breakthrough moment during her first few weeks as an assistant coach on the East Carolina women’s basketball staff.

The Pirate point guard from 2009-13 was working with current point guard, senior Alex Frazier, during an offseason workout when reality sunk in…


June 23, 2018

The East Carolina women’s basketball team honored three outgoing players last season on senior night, leaving 11 players eligible to return for this year.

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June 20, 2018

The anticipated arrival of most of the freshman class for the East Carolina basketball team coincides this week with the start of the university’s second summer session of classes.

Five of the six recruits, excluding 7-foot-2 Bosnia native Milan Stakic, are slated to begin classes and…


June 19, 2018

A pair of East Carolina women’s basketball recruits, who will join the team this week along with two others, were recently named to All-Star teams in their respective states.

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June 19, 2018

The time just after former East Carolina pole vaulter Brie Berkowitz completed her master’s degree at ECU was defined by a series of internships.

She did broadcasting for football camps, coordinated travel for various teams with the Miami Hurricanes and worked in sales and marketing for the…


June 18, 2018

The consistency shown by East Carolina football coaches was key during the recruitment of Farmville Central rising senior defensive lineman Keziah Everett and that led to Everett verbally committing to the Pirates on Monday.

He chose ECU over North Carolina and Virginia. The Pirates were the first…


June 17, 2018

The United States team completed a dominant run at the FIBA Americas U18 basketball tournament in Ontario, Canada, on Saturday night with a 113-74 victory against the host Canadian squad to take the gold medal.

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley helped pick the team, which was led…

dooley (1).JPG.JPG

June 16, 2018

East Carolina sophomore outfielder Bryant Packard earned his school-record seventh All-America honor after being named a first-teamer by the American Baseball Coaches Association on Saturday.

Packard led ECU in seven offensive categories, including batting average (.406) to rank seventh nationally.…


June 15, 2018

East Carolina first-year coach Joe Dooley played in part in assembling the roster for the USA Basketball U18 National Team that could be on a collision course to face host team Canada this weekend in the championship game of the FIBA Americas tournament.

Dooley was a court coach during…


June 14, 2018

To many in the world of women’s basketball, Anne Donovan was a giant. And not just because she stood 6-foot-8.

She won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals as a player and another as a coach in her storied career. She died Wednesday and people in Greenville…

Obit Donovan
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