The East Carolina University women’s basketball team started the 2018-2019 season on a high note with a five game win streak under previous interim head coach Chad Killinger. After a coaching switch to current acting head coach Nicole Mealing, the team has seemed to switch from winning games to losing games.
After a plethora of head coaches this season from Heather Macy, to Chad Killinger and now Nicole Mealing, the team has suffered with consistency in terms of their record. Macy resigned during the summer and Killinger was chosen as the interim head coach, but after suffering from non-life threatening health issues, Killinger stepped down and turned the reigns over to Mealing.
The beginning of the season started off with an 84-69 win over the University of Maryland Eastern Shore followed by several back to back wins over Monmouth University (73-67), Grand Canyon University (59-47), Kennesaw State University (68-56) and Wake Forest University (70-61). This start was the best the Pirates have seen since their 2015-2016 season.
Killinger coached the first 11 games of the season leading the Pirates to a 9-2 record. Under his reign, the team had focused on taking it day by day and game to game and his methods seemed to lead to success.
Since the switch to Mealing on Dec. 26, the team has been on a losing streak, falling to Duke University (83-66), University of North Carolina at Wilmington (71-68) and Tulane University (68-57). These losses can also be attributed to the holiday season, winter break and the players from going home, to coming back to Greenville.
The Pirates have averaged 63.9 points per game, including a total of 170 steals compared to their opponents who have a average total of 95 steals for the season. ECU seems to fall to its opponents in other categories such as rebounds, assists and three point field goals made and attempted.
This season junior guard Raven Johnson lead the team offensively in multiple games, but specifically stood out in their win against Kennesaw. The Pirates shot just 5-of-17 from the field in the opening quarter, but Johnson made 2-of-3 shots from the field and hit four free throws in the period and scored eight points to start off the game.
During the 2017-2018 season Johnson scored a season high of 10 points against Temple University, appeared in 29 games, shot 32.1 from the field and had a season high of eight rebounds. This season Johnson has already had a season high of 24 points against Wake Forest and has had a season high when she grabbed 14 rebounds against William & Mary University. She has proven her abilities and has become a key player for the Pirates going into the rest of conference play.
Another player who has led the team is senior forward Destiny Campbell with a .503 shooting percentage from the field which had her ranked 12th in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) last year. This season, Campbell had a game where she scored a season-high 17 points against Monmouth University. She has grabbed double-digit rebounds once which came against the University of South Carolina Upstate (11). In the game against Monmouth, Campbell blocked a season-high and team-high seven blocks. Campbell has brought that successful energy over into this season and will lead the Pirates to future wins in conference.
The team ended the 2017-2018 season with a conference record of 7-9, a record of 2-14 during 2016-2017 and a record of 6-12 during 2015-2016. After losing their first conference game against Tulane on Saturday, the Pirates still have hope for a great conference record after a strong regular season record of 9-5 so far.
ECU has to get out of its coaching slump in order to break its three loss streak and propel forward into the rest of conference play. The team’s drive to win and play well is still there, but focus might be lost among all of the inconsistency going on around them. Their next conference game is Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Wichita State University in Minges Coliseum.