11/22 East Carolina 7:00PM
2002 Recap: 5-21, # 247 RPI
The Scoop: To say that 2002 was a disappointing year for ECU is an understatement. They were a decent 16-12 in 2001 but then had a record so abysmal that it forced a coaching change. And it should come as no great surprise that their new coach doesn't exactly have Pat Summitt's credentials: Sharon Baldwin moved over from Mercer, after taking a horrendous team and leading them to a winning record (16-13). ECU averaged 191 fans per game in 2002 at home, which more than anything showed that something had to be done to inject some new life into the program. To be fair, last year's Pirate squad had 8 freshmen, 4 sophomores and only 2 seniors. The good news for Baldwin is that leading scorer Courtney Willis is back for her junior season. The bad news is that Willis only averaged 12.8 ppg and that second leading scorer Kim Enoch is gone. ECU averaged an anemic 55.7 ppg last year, due in part to a deliberate slowdown attempt as their opponents only averaged 55.8. The Pirates had no true playmaker, which showed in their 20+ turnovers a game, nor could they shoot (33% from the floor, 29% from three). They were a decent rebounding unit and forced 10 steals a game, showing that this group at least has decent defensive fundamentals. Soph Jennifer Jackson has potential as a shooter, hitting at a 34% clip last year. ECU is also undersized, with Willis tying for tallest player at 6-2. Shanita Sutton, one of the other 6-2 players, will have to step up her rebounding to replace Enoch, who led the team with 7 boards a game. Starting off with Duke on the road will be tough for Baldwin and her charges, though new coaches bring new optimism and they will certainly have a "what have we got to lose" attitude. If Duke isn't sharp early on, ECU could hang with them for a few minutes. In the end, Duke should have too much of everything for ECU to handle.