Tale of Two Teams

by Billy Weaver

Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions.

The ECU men's basketball team lost another heart breaker on Tuesday night as the Pirates fell 78-70 to UNC Greensboro. Ricky Stokes' team was out-hustled and simply shot out of the gym in the second half. The Spartans hit eight three-pointers in the second half and, granted, more than a few of those triples probably shouldn't have fallen, but they did. As a result, a promising 3-1 start to Stokes' first season has quickly gone to a mediocre 3-3 with lots of question marks.

On the flip side, the ECU women are red hot. A team that was picked to finish 12th in the pre-season Conference USA poll is rolling through its non-conference schedule with a 6-1 record riding a six game winning streak. The Lady Pirates beat VCU Wednesday night at Williams Arena Minges Coliseum by the score of 66-61. Cherie Mills dropped in 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the victory. More impressive was the play off the bench by Jessica Slack. The freshman guard scored 17 points to help lead the Lady Pirates to their best start since going 6-1 to begin the 1986-87 season.

We'll get a feel of how the the ECU women will fare in the new look Conference USA when they open the conference schedule December 16th on the road against Marshall.

The men will be back in action this Saturday at home against another very tough in-state out-of-conference opponent as the Pirates face Western Carolina. Granted the Catamounts are fresh off a 30-point loss on the road to 21st-ranked Maryland but at 5-6 Western Carolina is still a very dangerous team.

There's still a lot of basketball to be played and anything can happen but right now I would have to say the ECU women have a much better shot at a winning season. Unlike the men, they have a great inside presence in junior college transfer and former Ayden-Grifton High School star Cherie Mills and they have a young and talented group of freshmen that have stepped up and filled the void left by Jennifer Jackson, Samantha Pankey, Shanita Sutton and Viola Cooper.
Billy Weaver