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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Quirk of fate marks end of the road

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina’s run in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament came to an abrupt end with a 69-65 loss to North Carolina State on Sunday.

Irony flowed in this second round matchup.

N.C. State is coached by Wes Moore. That’s the same Wes Moore who once took the head coaching job of ECU's women's basketball program, spoke at an introductory press conference, and then decided to return home to continue coaching at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

In stepped Heather Macy. The Francis Marion fireball accepted the position at ECU a couple of days later.

Macy refused to comment at the time on the selection of Moore over her in the ECU hiring process. I know that first hand, because I asked her the question, or a form of that question, three times in a live shot on the day she was hired.

Macy’s Pirates have a school record three-year run going with 20 or more wins. East Carolina’s problem may be in keeping Macy.

Still, the disappointment was most evident in Macy’s words after the loss to the Wolfpack.

“It’s just a really, really tough loss right now, mostly for our six seniors who have done so much for our basketball program and contribute so much,” said Macy. It’s just a really tough way for them to finish up.”

Sunday’s game featured one of the best atmospheres for a women’s game in some time. Over two thousand fans spent part of their day inside Williams Arena for women’s basketball.

Jada Payne led East Carolina with 19 points. Pirate fans will get to enjoy the play of Payne one more season. She was obviously hurt after the loss as well.

“I hope that our red shirts that watch this game, they take something from that,” said Payne. “Next year we won’t take anything for granted. I am proud of my team through the loss and I’m looking forward to next year.”

Moore spoke about his ‘connection’ with East Carolina after his team’s win on Sunday.

“That whole deal was a tough situation,” said Moore. “I think East Carolina and Greenville are both great places. I spent 15 years at Chattanooga and [then-ECU AD] Terry Holland made the comment when I was going through all that that Chattanooga was kind of like my baby and it was kind of hard to leave, leave that situation.

"But I think it’s worked out great for everybody. I think Heather is doing an awesome job and I’m certainly happy at N.C. State and my wife is happy still even though she didn’t talk to me for two or three years in that span.”

East Carolina wrapped up its season with a 22-11 final record.

Macy and the Pirates hope to use their two games in the WNIT as a stepping stone to the future. The Pirate coach has never minced words when it comes to her team’s goals. East Carolina wants to play in the NCAA Tournament.

“I appreciate everybody coming out and supporting us,” Macy said. “I thought we had a really nice crowd and our administration and marketing department did a really nice job with us being able to host these past two rounds. I appreciate that because that does help move our program two feet forward and we’ll use this as a building block.”

With a veteran cast returning, Macy hopes to break through into the NCAA version of the postseason in 2016.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

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