Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.




Observations and Punditry

Woody's Ramblings
Sunday, November 2, 2008

By Woody Peele

Lady Pirates aim for resurgence

By Woody Peele
All rights reserved.

There’s the old adage, “You can’t tell the players without a program.”

This year, as the East Carolina women’s basketball team gets set to open the 2008-09 season, you can’t tell the coaches without that program.
Well, almost all of them.

Head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener returns for her sixth season at the helm, but her entire staff is new.

Chrissy Roberts left to take over the head coaching job at her alma mater, Eastern Kentucky, and took along assistant coach Melissa Kolbe as her top aide. Tali Robich, the Pirates’ third assistant, decided that the coaching life was not really what she wanted.

So Baldwin-Tener rounded up a new crew: Roger Hodge, head coach at Atlantic Armstrong College for the past eight years; Adrienne Shuler, head coach at Appalachian State for the last six years; and Jocelyn Wyatt, for the past two years an assistant coach at Georgia.

Shuler also played at Georgia, along with Baldwin-Tener.

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” the Pirate head coach said of her new staff. “It was a big loss to lose our whole staff, but I’m happy for Chrissy.

“Our new coaches have blended in well and the chemistry is good. Having two who have been head coaches before will make a lot of difference. Their confidence and knowledge and the enthusiasm they bring is really a plus.”

After winning the Conference USA tournament championship in 2006, prospects were high for the Pirates going into last season. But things just didn’t seem to go right for much of the year, and it resulted in a sixth place finish.

This year, the rest of the league still has regard for the Pirates, picking them to end up fourth at the end of the season. What the Pirates need to do is make sure they don’t underperform as they did last season.

“Last year, we were depending on a very young post (Lauren Cochran, 6-5 Jr., 6.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg),” Baldwin-Tener said. “Cheri Mills had graduated and we had freshmen and Lauren as a sophomore. We depended a lot on them, but it’s hard to have people who don’t have a lot of minutes to depend on.”

That should improve since the Pirates now have three sophomores who got a lot of minutes last year. They include Kim Gay (6-2, 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Shuanda Ashford (6-1, 2.0, 1.5); and Tishana Bowens (6-0, 2.3, 2.8).

“They’re a lot different and more physical and Lauren has really worked hard this summer to get into better shape,” the coach said.

Jasmine Young, one of the three seniors (5-5, 14.1 ppg, 148 total assists), echoed the coach.

“I think things are going to be great,” Young said. “We have a lot of new people who are coming in and will contribute to this team. They are willing to learn and let the leaders help them become better players on the court.”

“Jazz and Coya (LaCoya Terry, 5-10, Sr., 15.4, 5.0) are very vocal leaders,” Baldwin-Tener said. “In preseason and in practice, they help other people and make sure that our enthusiasm is there and that our intensity is there.

“Gabby (Gabriela Husarova, 6-1, Sr., 7.0, 3.9) is more of a leader by example. Those three have really set the tone for what this basketball team can do, and I want them to have a good year for those seniors.”

“We’ve taken on a bigger role of being leaders,” Young said, “letting people know when they’re wrong and when they’re right. We have a post this year who can play with us, running up and down the court and banging the boards. So that will help us and take the pressure off Coya and me.”

Cochran is the lone junior on the squad and Baldwin-Tener is expecting a lot more from her this season.

“She’s very much improved,” she said. “She is in better shape and can run better and move better. She will be a better basketball player, but she’s still not anywhere near her potential.”

The sophomore class is led by 5-10 Allison Spivey, who proved she can play the game last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds from her wing position.

“She’s done a great job,” Baldwin-Tener said. “She’s in much better physical shape than she was last year and is more aggressive on the drive.”

The Pirates also have their other three post players, Bowens, Gay and Ashford.

“They are all three tougher both mentally and physically,” the coach said. “They can go longer than they did last year, when they tired easily. So our depth is going to be a lot better.”

Baldwin-Tener looks to get good playing time from some newcomers. They include freshmen Ashley Clark (5-6 guard), Jamie Shaw (5-9 guard) and Crystal Wilson (5-9 guard). One other freshman, 6-5 center Jean Best, is still awaiting clearance from the NCAA.

The Lady Pirates open the regular season on Nov. 14, playing host to Hampton at 5:30 p.m. in Minges Coliseum’s Williams Arena. It is part of a doubleheader with the men’s team, which faces Coker at 7:30 p.m.

The women will play an exhibition game on Saturday at 7 p.m., following the East Carolina-Marshall football game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Their first Conference USA game is set for 2 p.m. on Jan. 3 when the Marshall women pay a visit to Williams Arena.

“Southern Miss is, by far, the favorite,” Baldwin-Tener said of this year’s league race. “They have five starters back from a team that went deep into the Women’s NIT last year. They’ve added some good recruits and on paper appear to be the best team.

“There are a lot of others, too. SMU has a lot back. There are a lot of strengths in the guards throughout the league, so it may come down to (whoever has the best) posts.”

Baldwin-Tener said that she will put her guards up against any in the league.

“But it’s going to come down to how much better we get as the year goes along,” she added. “With as many newcomers as we have, it’s going to take us some time to come together and get experience. I hope our leadership will take us through that.

"We have some players who have won the conference championship and have gone to the NCAA, so that will be important for us.”

Send an e-mail message to Woody Peele.

Dig into Woody Peele's Bonesville archives.

11/02/2008 05:10:37 AM

©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.