The University of Tulsa women's basketball team will face East Carolina in the opening round of the 2012 Conference USA Championship on Wednesday, March 7th beginning at 11:00 am at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis, Tenn.
"I think we are going in to the tournament in a good frame of mind," Head Coach Matilda Mossman said. "I think over our last four games, our confidence has been building and there has been a big improvement in the way we've been playing. I don't know if there is any team that would be a great team to play right now. ECU is on a role so I think they are going to be a tough first round opponent."
Tulsa is making its seventh appearance in the Conference USA Championship and has a 5-5 record in tournament play. The Golden Hurricane has advanced past the first round in three of the previous six seasons, but has not done so since 2008. TU clinched the tournament title in 2006 and has hosted the league championship twice (2007, 2010).
This will be the second-straight year and third time Tulsa has met East Carolina in the Conference USA Championship. ECU picked up a 71-62 win over Tulsa in the first round last season, but the Golden Hurricane recorded a 77-60 victory in the quarterfinals in 2006.
This will be the 10th overall meeting between the Golden Hurricane and Pirates, as Tulsa has a 5-4 lead in the all-time series. TU won the regular season contest, 75-70, in Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane has a 13-14 overall record and concluded league play with an 8-8 mark. TU ranks fourth in free throw percentage (.654) and rebounding offense (41.2), and fifth in scoring offense (60.2), rebounding margin (+3.4), offensive rebounds (15.1) and defensive rebounds (26.1) among the league's best.
Tulsa is led by junior guard Taleya Mayberry with 14.7 points per game, while Taylor Hooker also posts double-digit points with 11.8. Hooker also has a league-leading 3.1 steals per game, ranking 18th in the nation, and Tiffani Couisnard has a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game.
The Pirates enter the contest with an 11-18 overall record and posted a 5-11 mark in Conference USA. East Carolina closed out regular season action with wins in five of their final six contests (their one loss came at Tulsa). Shala Hodges and Chareya Smith both average double-digit points with 11.0 and 10.9, respectively, while Kristine Mial turns in 8.6 ppg. Britny Edwards has a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game and 43 blocks, Celeste Stewart has 98 assists, and Mial has 54 steals.