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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, February 16, 2007

By Bethany Bradsher

Seek and ye shall find good news

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

Seven East Carolina head coaches. One question. “What was the high point of the past week?”

For Sharon Baldwin-Tener of the Lady Pirates basketball team, this week has been like a continuous play highlight reel. Her favorite moment was Sunday night, when junior guard Jasmine Young lofted a shot with one second remaining to give her team a victory over Tulsa.

Of course, Baldwin-Tener answered my question before last night’s game against Texas-El Paso. That game ended with senior Cherie Mills sinking four consecutive free throws with 9.2 seconds left after Miners player Shalana Taylor was charged with a foul and a technical foul. That perfect charity stripe outing for Mills, who finished with 26 points in the game, gave ECU a 66-64 lead and the victory.

It was a crucial win that left the Lady Pirates (13-13, 8-5 C-USA) tied for fourth place in the Conference USA with three games left in the regular season. They close out their home schedule Saturday at 2 p.m. against Tulane.

It’s not always the earth-shattering things that make a week special. Men’s golf coach Press McPhaul was impressed this week with the diligence and development of a player named Chris Ault. McPhaul has carried high expectations for Ault — expectations that he will help lead the team — and little by little in off-season practice this week that, goal has been taking shape, McPhaul said.

“He’s been having great practice and being intentional about being a leader,” McPhaul said of Ault, a junior from Levittown, PA.

The best news of the week for softball coach Tracy Kee came not on the field, but from a doctor who cleared sophomore Vanessa Moreno to play this season. Illness forced Moreno to miss the Lady Pirates’ season-opening tournament in Chapel Hill, where they won three out of four games.

“That’s huge for us,” said Kee of Moreno’s return. “We played the first weekend without her, and she’s the heartbeat and soul of our team.”
The softball team’s next stop is the Dunkin’ Donuts Classic, hosted by Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Men’s track and field coach Bill Carson has seen plenty of triumphs in his 37 years of coaching, but this week’s installment came at Penn State University, where the men’s team took home seven top-ten finishes to improve their heat and lane assignments at the Conference USA indoor championship meet in two weeks.

One of the runners Carson cited as having an outstanding weekend was Jerek Hewitt, who recently came to the track team from the football squad and placed sixth in the 60-meter dash and seventh in the 200 at the meet.

Kim Lewellen is planning for her women’s golfers to hit their highlight today, when they leave for Miami to compete in their first tournament of the season. The women will play in the Papa John’s Intercollegiate Tournament, and they are more than ready to end a hiatus on competition that has lasted since the fall season ended in early November.

“We seem prepared and ready to go, and we’re looking forward to getting down there to play well, and also for some warm weather,” Lewellen said.

Pirate fans who enjoyed watching Lewellen on the Golf Channel’s “The Big Break” reality series can catch her again on “The Big Break” reunion series, which she taped in the fall but will begin airing on Feb. 25.

Men’s tennis coach Shawn Heinchon saw his men’s tennis team’s high point grow out what could have been a setback this weekend. Several members of the team were struck with food poisoning on a road trip to the mountains.

They were circumstances that could have easily led to the Pirates’ fourth defeat, but they rallied in the face of illness and defeated UNC-Asheville 4-3 Sunday in an outing that bodes well for future matches against teams like High Point and Davidson.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys that are getting a chance to compete and play, and it’s refreshing to see that we’re going to be in there really against anyone we play,” Heinchon said.

Finally, women’s soccer coach Rob Donnenwirth was just thankful for an end to the heart of recruiting season, which closed with National Signing Day on Feb. 7, and the introduction of full team off-season workouts this week.
“All this recruiting and conditioning, and finally we can get to what we really like to do, and that’s coach,” Donnenwirth said.

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02/23/2007 01:14:37 AM

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