Heather Macy now stands alone as the winningest coach in ECU women’s basketball history. The victory that earned her that distinction may go down as one of the most satisfying.
The Pirates, reeling from three straight losses and two consecutive abysmal offensive performances, scored the final nine points in the last 54 seconds Wednesday night to topple Tulsa 73-67 in an American Athletic Conference game at Minges Coliseum.
ECU (9-8, 1-3 AAC) had scored just a combined 71 points and lost by a total of 97 points in its previous two games against top-ranked UConn and Memphis. The Pirates started quickly against Tulsa and led by as much as 13 but still needed some last-minute magic to give Macy her 127th win at ECU,
Freshman guard Lashonda Monk’s steal and layup with 19 seconds left put ECU ahead for good at 68-67. The Golden Hurricane (8-9, 2-2) committed turnovers on their last three possessions, and the Pirates made 5 of 6 free throws to seal it.
Macy is 127-110 in her eighth year at ECU. Sharon Baldwin-Tener compiled a 126-115 record from 2002-10.
“She does such a good job, and we all look up to her,” said junior Destiny Campbell, who recorded her first double-double with a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. “She’s very passionate, and that’s what we all need as players. I really appreciate her.”
Macy coached at Pfeiffer and Francis Marion coming to Greenville in 2010. A tribute to her and the record-setting victory played on the video boards after the game, but she deflected much of the attention.
“My total focus is on helping this team be as good as it can be, at every single moment,” Macy said. “I do acknowledge the fact that we’ve had incredible players that have been involved in this program. We’ve had incredible coaches that have come through and have worked incredibly hard to make this possible, so this is not an individual thing for me. I think it’s a collation of a lot of factors and play and a ton of support, community support and administrative support. It takes a lot of moving parts to do something of this nature.”
The Pirates looked as if they would blow the Golden Hurricane away, putting together one of their most impressive quarters of the year in zooming to a 22-11 first-quarter lead.
ECU shot 62.5 percent (10 of 16) from the field in the first 10 minutes and led by as much as 13 at 22-9 after a 14-0 run.
Campbell scored five points in the run, but four other players also contributed.
The hot hand suddenly ended in the second quarter — the Pirates missed their first six shots and committed two turnovers, failing to score until Alex Frazier’s layup at the the 3:37 mark. Tulsa crept as close as 27-23, but a Campbell jumper and Monk free throw sent ECU to the half up 30-23.
The lead reached 12 in the third quarter, and the Pirates led 49-42 heading into the final 10 minutes. Tulsa pulled even at 61-61 with 3:45 to go and forged ahead 65-63 on a Crystal Polk layup with 1:55 to play. The Golden Hurricane led 67-64 after Erika Wakefield scored with 1:11 left, but they would not score again.
Salita Greene, who finished with 16 points, got the Pirates within 67-66 but could not complete a three-point play with 54 seconds to go. Each team committed turnovers before Monk came up with her steal and layup to put ECU in front. Ariyana Williams made 1 of 2 free throws and Greene sank 4 of 4 to clinch the win.
Williams finished with 11 points, and Alex Frazier added 10. Wakefield led Tulsa with 21 points. Polk added 16 points, and Tyjae Scales had eight points and 10 rebounds.
ECU travels to SMU on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game.