Dylan Johnson / ESPN Greenville
Finally, the ECU women’s basketball team can exhale and the athletics department can regroup and figure things
out going forward.
A 92-65 loss to UConn on Saturday in the second round of American Athletic Conference tournament ended the
2018-2019 season for the women’s hoops team, a more eventful season than usual.
Former head coach Heather Macy resigned on Oct. 17 during the preseason due to issues with an internal investigation
into compliance, citing her misunderstanding of practice rules. Macy is the winningest head coach in program history after eight seasons on the job in which she compiled a 134-117 record.
Interim head coach Chad Killinger, who was hired as an assistant by Macy in June, went 9-2 before having
to step down due to health concerns. “Killinger will depart his post to take a leave of absence to address a non-life threatening health issue following a recent medical evaluation,” a release from ECU said about the coach.
The 9-2 start to the season was the best for the program since a 9-2 start to the 2014-2015 season, when
the team finished 22-11 and capped a three-year run of at least 20 wins. The team had seasons of 13-19 and 11-19 after that 20-win season as Macy rebuilt the program.
Then acting head coach Nicole Mealing went 7-12 down the stretch. Mealing was in her third year as an assistant
coach and had no head coaching experience of any kind. Mealing was a video coordinator for the team from 2012-2016. After Killinger stepped down, only four staff members remained: assistant coach Celeste Steward, director of operations Hayley Hollis and video
coordinator Eboni Fields. Hollis and Fields had to become more involved as assistant coaches with the void.
The Pirates greatly relied on the play of guard Lashonda Monk, who was named to third team all-AAC. Monk
led ECU with 13.1 points per game, 3.4 assists per game and 4.1 steals per game. Her 114 steals are an AAC record, second most in ECU history and fifth in the nation. The program also had the veteran leadership that comes with four seniors in Alex Frazier,
Destiny Campbell, Salita Greene, and Desiree Corbin.
To someone who only looked at the numbers and didn’t pay any attention, it seems the team stayed in place
and didn’t take a step forward this season. ECU finished with a 16-15 record for the second consecutive year. The Pirates defeated SMU in the first round of the conference tournament for the second year in a row before being defeated by No. 2 seed USF last
season and No. 1 seed UConn (with its 29-2 record) this season. Both this season and last, the team put forth an 11-5 record at home both seasons while going 2-9 and 3-7 in road games.
But to those who saw the whirlwind the team dealt with, including three different head coaches before conference
play even began, it was an accomplishment. Mealing pointed to Macy as a key figure in why the team persevered through the season.
“The preparation for this season started way before the first game on Nov. 6, but it started during the summer
with coach Macy. She did a really good job of preparing us for everything that we are going through now. I’m very confident in my role and coach Macy also has been my mentor and I think she trained me up pretty well,” Mealing said of Macy according to the
Now comes on offseason for ECU to regroup and move forward, instead of needing to hold it together as it had done much of this season. What can’t be forgotten or overlooked is how impressive it was that the team held it together at all with what it faced