ECU seniors Saturday

Head coach Kim McNeill is joined, from left, by players Lashonda Monk, Raven Johnson, Sierra DaCosta, Dominique Claytor and Justice Gee.

Saturday’s win was as a timely one for East Carolina’s women’s basketball team, pulling away from Wichita State 74-59 in Minges Coliseum on senior day.

Lashonda Monk scored 18 points for the Pirates, who took control in the third quarter thanks to a 30-11 scoring advantage, shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the 3-point arc and grabbing five steals. The point guard from Greensboro was one of five players honored before the game, joined by Raven Johnson, Sierra DaCosta, Dominique Claytor and Justice Gee.

“It’s a big senior class,” coach Kim McNeill said in a release. “What they’ve done, I could go on and on to talk about each and every one of them. They mean so much to me. They mean so much to ECU, on the court and off the court. All of them do a really good job in the classroom.”

Johnson is injured, but the other four seniors started and each scored at least one point. DaCosta had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Claytor swiped three of the team’s 17 steals, and Taniyah Thompson had four.

ECU (7-11, 5-8) is alone in sixth place in the American Athletic Conference, just ahead of Tulsa (4-11) and trailing Tulane (10-6) by a wide margin, with three games remaining in its regular season.

McNeill pointed to a non-senior, freshman Synia Johnson, also as a key contributor in the weekend win.

“You look at her stats, nine points, six assists, three steals, but what doesn’t show up in the stat sheet is our defense and what she brings to the top of our press and to the top of our matchup (zone),” McNeill said. “She did a really good job of that, containing that penetration and putting some pressure on the point guard.”

First six in softball

The ECU softball team sealed a 5-1 start to its season with a doubleheader split Sunday at Coastal Carolina, losing 11-3 in five innings before a 9-1, six-inning victory. The Pirates also beat Buffalo (9-4) and St. Francis (4-2) on Saturday.

ECU’s final game versus Coastal saw Kama Woodall (3-0) finish a strong two days by tossing her second complete game in as many games to earn the win. She limited the hosts to an earned run on seven hits with one strikeout against two walks.

The Pirates turned a 2-1 edge into a 6-1 cushion with four runs in the top of the fourth inning, when Ashleigh Inae provided a key hit with a two-run double to make it 6-1. Inae finished 2-for-2 with a run scored, two RBIs and two walks.

Golf’s military tribute

The East Carolina women’s golf team has partnered with the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program for the spring season, second-year head coach CC Buford announced Friday.

The program provides the opportunity for collegiate golf teams to honor a fallen or severely wounded American soldier by selecting a student-athlete to carry a golf bag displaying the name, rank and branch of service of the soldier being honored throughout the year.

ECU’s season began Sunday with participation in the Palmetto Intercollegiate in Kiawah Island, S.C. An ECU Easter Invitational is scheduled for April 3-4 at Ironwood Country Club.

“My grandfather served as a pilot in the Navy flying fighter jets off Marine carriers,” Buford said. “Upon retiring, golf became such a huge part of his life, which he passed on to his daughter, my mom. Perhaps without that passion from him, I may have never had the chance to love and respect the game of golf, which has obviously become such a huge part of my life. All of that to say, it’s an exciting opportunity for us to partner with Folds of Honor in giving tribute to our veterans and wounded soldiers.”

All league games left

The weekend match for East Carolina’s women’s soccer team was a 3-1 loss at VCU, giving the Pirates an 0-2 road record for the only two nonconference matchups on their schedule.

ECU (1-2, 1-0) already beat Houston in AAC action. The seven games left for the Pirates are in the American.

It was a windy day in Richmond, Va., and ECU faced a 2-0 deficit within the first 20 minutes of action. Morgan Dewey later scored for the visitors in the second half.

“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game, but it being our third game after a year-plus break and the last nonconference game we will play this season, we will have to find some positives to take away from it,” coach Jason Hamilton said.

Loss in lacrosse

A rough shooting night cost the ECU women’s lacrosse team in a 15-6 defeat at Davidson.

The Wildcats (2-1) finished with a 24-16 edge in shots on goal. ECU (1-2), which hosts Campbell on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Duke on Sunday at 1, was led by Megan Tryniski with two goals and an assist.

Volleyball setbacks

East Carolina dropped to 0-4 in the American Athletic Conference with consecutive losses to South Florida in Minges Coliseum, although the Bulls needed five sets Friday in their 3-2 victory (25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 18-25, 15-6).

Senior right side Bri Wood has posted a double-double in all five of the matches this year for ECU (1-4). She notched 20 kills and added 14 digs in the five-set loss to USF.

PCC’s one game

The Pitt Community College baseball team has had eight games on its schedule already postponed and has played just once, losing 6-5 last week to Mt. Olive JV.

No Bulldog pitcher went more than one inning in the game. In all, PCC used nine hurlers. Bryce Lewis was the Bulldogs’ top hitter, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

PCC softball is 2-0 after sweeping a Saturday doubleheader at Catawba Valley CC, winning 13-9 and 9-1. Pitt jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first two innings of the opener, then rode pitcher Abby Foster in Game 2 behind her six strikeouts in five innings.