Junior Lashonda Monk dribbles the basketball alongside Senior Raven Johnson.

Being a player on the East Carolina University (3-13, 0-3 AAC) women's basketball team comes with its ups and downs, but the ladies always keep themselves motivated through their team chemistry and support.

When off the court, the players remain a tight knit group with hard-working practices that are still able to be fun. The coaching staff is able to work with the team through pressing them to be the best they can be while still being able to make the practice enjoyable.

“What I enjoy the most about practices is the energy we bring up and seeing each other’s faces and making sure we give everything we got,” freshman guard Katerina Tsineke said.

Tsineke said that one of the most important aspects of a team is having good team chemistry, and the East Carolina women’s basketball team displays that through its bonds not only with each other, but also with its coaches.

What is heavily pushed by the coaching staff is to “play for your sister,” which means to see your teammate as your family so that you want to do your best in practices and win games for your teammates, not for yourself.

“Wanting it for each other really drives us,” junior guard Lashonda Monk said. “Our coaches say every day, ‘look next to you and play for your sister.’ So wanting to make her better and wanting to get a win for her really drives our motivation.”

The team even remains close off the court. They sometimes will go out for dinner together or will have breakfast. Monk believes it is important they stay close off the court as well so that they continue to have a strong family-like bond.

With only eight healthy players out of the 13 on the roster, it is important for them to keep a “sisterhood” mentality. Without the motivation from each other and even from their injured teammates, it would make sense for the team to want to give up, but it doesn’t. They keep fighting and pushing for each other.

“With this team, we're still fighting. We're very young, so you got some kids getting some valuable minutes early that probably if we had a full roster, wouldn't be playing as much. But they're fighting,” head coach Kim McNeill said according to ECUPirates.com. “We're coming to practice every day trying to get better, not holding our heads down, not focusing on the past because we can't control the past all we can control is what's ahead of us.”

With such a strong bond, the team still pushes through even with all of their unlucky breaks. Without the positive attitudes of the coaching staff and the “play for her” motivation, it would be hard for any team to keep their head up.

The East Carolina women’s basketball team will have its next game away in Tulsa, Oklahoma where they will take on the University of Tulsa (5-12, 0-4 AAC) in another American Athletic Conference matchup. Tip-off between the Pirates and Golden Hurricane is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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