Junior guard Morgan Moseley

Junior guard Morgan Moseley pulls up for a jumper in the face of her opponent.

On July 14, the American Athletic Conference (AAC) announced the women’s basketball conferences pairing for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

Each team in the conference will play six of the 10 opponents twice and the remaining four opponents once, two teams will be played at home and two will be played away.

The head coach for women’s basketball, Kim McNeill, said she looks forward to the upcoming season because of how the offseason is going for the athletes. She said she is ready to “get on the floor” and compete.

“I think our conference is extremely competitive, I don't think we give them credit for how good the conference is,” McNeill said. “You gotta come out and you gotta battle every single night”.

The first round of conference games will start Dec. 30 through Jan. 2, 2023. The dates and times will be announced at a later date.

The East Carolina University team will play the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of Cincinnati, the University of Memphis, Temple University, Tulane University, and Wichita State University twice, home and on the road. The Pirates will host the University of Houston and Tulsa University at home. ECU will travel to the University of South Florida (USF) and Southern Methodist University (SMU).

The Pirates had some close games last season including a loss 59-60 to Temple Feb. 6, a 60-68 loss to USF Feb. 27 and a three-point loss against Memphis on March 2. Coach McNeill said she hopes the offseason training will help the team be able to push through and win those games. She said the main focus right now is to build the stamina and toughness of the team.

“A lot more conditioning (is needed) than what we did last year just to try and build that toughness and try to push through the fatigue,” McNeill said. “Just really focusing on a lot of shooting so we can hit more shots”.

UCF and USF were selected for the NCAA Championship for the 2021-22 season after the Knights were No.1 in the conference and beat the USF Mustangs 53-45 in the AAC championship last season. The Mustangs were eliminated in their first game of the NCAA Championship against the University of Miami. UCF went on to beat the University of Florida but lost to the University of Connecticut 47-52 to end their NCAA Championship run.

Houston, Tulane, Tulsa and SMU competed in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament last season. Houston was the last one standing out of the AAC and lost to the University of Alabama 64-79.

Pirate junior guard Synia Johnson said she is ready to get into the season and make it farther than last season. She said her favorite part of the season is towards the end when the team is trying to make it to championships, tournaments and because it is everything the team worked for during the offseason.

“Of course getting more wins this season and kinda just playing together,” Johnson said. “I’m ready to just get into the actual season to get playing and make it further than we did last season”.

The workouts the team has been doing this summer has been focused on pushing through, Johnson said. She said the summer workouts have helped the team take the extra step and to help build stamina to make it through games.

Johnson said some of the games the Pirates previously lost were close and she thinks the summer workouts will help the team in close game situations because the team will be better able to push through the tiredness some of the athletes experience during the end of the game.

“Just thinking back on those games where we could’ve and should’ve won but not having enough gas in the tank,” Johnson said. “Really putting in that work this season and pushing through whenever we get tired”.

Pirate forward and graduate student Tiara Chambers said she decided to stay at ECU for graduate school because she enjoyed the coaching staff. She said that she plans to stay at East Carolina for the remainder of her eligibility for collegiate basketball.

Chambers said the team has goals created by the coaches before the game and that the team doesn’t go into a set mentality of how tough the competitor is.

“The mindset is to achieve every goal,” Chambers said. “To either out rebound somebody or get this amount of stops and stuff like that”.

The AAC women’s basketball championship will be held in Fort Worth, Texas in Dickies Arena from March 6 through 9.

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