Jan. 1, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team heads to Fairfax, Va., to take on George Mason in the Pirates’ last non-conference contest of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Patriot Center.
The Game: ECU at George Mason
East Carolina will kick off the new year with a non-conference contest at George Mason on Wednesday, Jan. 2, in Fairfax, Va. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Patriot Center. The Pirates are 9-3 and the Patriots are 5-5 on the year.
The Pirates and Patriots will face off for the 46th time in program history and East Carolina leads the all-time series 24-21. The Pirates and Patriots will go head to head for the first time in 10 years as the last time the two squads squared off was Jan. 3, 2003, in Fairfax, Va. During that contest, East Carolina defeated George Mason, 76-69. The Patriots have not been victorious over the Pirates since December 5, 2001, when George Mason beat ECU, 62-54, in overtime in Greenville, N.C.
Last Time Out
The Pirates are coming off of a 71-64 victory over Elon on December 29, and ECU owns a 9-3 overall mark this season. East Carolina was led by Whitny Edwards’ season-high 18 points as well as Britny Edwards’ double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds). Whitny Edwards added four rebounds, three assists, and a steal in the contest. In just her second game back after sitting out the first 10 contests due to an injury, Kristine Mial poured in 14 points and added three boards. Senior Celeste Stewart finished the game with nine points, three boards, two assists and a steal, while Ariana Jackson tallied eight points and five rebounds. Tatiana Chapple and Kyani White each contributed four points, while White led the team with a season-high nine assists to go along with four steals, one block, and a rebound.
About the Pirates
East Carolina owns a 9-3 record and has won seven out of its last nine games. This season, the Pirates are outscoring their opponents by more than 150 points (803-623) and are averaging 66.9 points per game while holding their opponents to 52.3. Additionally, ECU is averaging 14.6 steals per game and forcing its opponents into 25.3 turnovers per contest. Britny Edwards leads the team in scoring (11.9 points per game), rebounding (7.8 rebounds per game) and blocks (19). The redshirt senior center / power forward has tallied 11 assists and 15 steals on the year while shooting 53.9-percent. Whitny Edwards is averaging 11.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. The redshirt senior forward has also contributed 25 assists and 18 steals. Senior Celeste Stewart has been consistent for the Pirates all season as she leads the squad with 52 assists and has added 108 points (9.0 points per game), 36 rebounds (3.0 rebounds per game), 23 steals, and a trio of blocks. Kyani White is the team leader in steals with 36. The redshirt sophomore has also totaled 59 points, 28 boards and 44 assists, with two blocks this season.
Scouting The Patriots
George Mason owns a 5-5 overall record this year and the Patriots are coming off of a 54-53 win over Georgia Southern which ended a three-game losing streak for GMU. The Patriots are led by Rahneeka Saunders who is averaging 13.2 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. Saunders has also posted 26 assists, 16 steals and eight blocks. Amber Easter is the Patriots’ leading rebounder as she has collected 79 to average 7.9 boards per contest. Easter is averaging 9.4 points per game and has contributed 11 steals, 10 assists and five blocks. Janaa Pickard is the team’s second leading scorer with 9.9 points per game. She has added 6.5 rebounds per game, 15 blocks, four assists and three steals. As a team, George Mason is averaging 56.8 points per game and surrendering 60.2 to its opponents.
East Carolina: Head Coach Heather Macy (Greensboro College, 2000) enters her third year at the helm of the ECU women’s basketball team and holds a record of 37-37 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 152-76 overall record and is 89-42 in conference action. In her first year with the Pirates, Macy guided the team to a winning record for the third straight season and helped the Pirates to a 9-7 conference mark which was good for fifth place in the league. Macy came to ECU from Francis Marion where she led the Patriots to a 27-5 ledger during the 2009-10 season and finished second in the East Division of the Peach Belt Conference. Under her tutelage, FMU earned a berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament and advanced to the second round. Macy spent three seasons with FMU and finished her stint with an impressive 75-19 record. She began her coaching career with Pfeiffer, where she coached for two years and led the Falcons to a 26-5 record in her final season.
George Mason: Jeri Porter (Liberty, 1991) is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Patriots women’s basketball team. At George Mason, she has put together a record of 47-84 and during the 2011-12 season, guided the Patriots to their first CAA Tournament victory since 2006. Porter came to GMU from Radford where she owned a 93-85 record over six years. Prior to her stint at Radford, Porter served as the head coach at North Alabama from 1998-2002. At North Alabama, she recorded a record of 64-43.
The National Spotlight
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the Top 25 in three categories in NCAA Division I statistics. The Pirates are third in steals per game (14.6), seventh in turnover margin (8.5), and 19th in assists per game (17.1). Individually, redshirt sophomore Kyani White ranks 21st in assist to turnover ratio as she is averaging 2.4.
Cracking the Top 10
Britny Edwards etched her name into the ECU record book in the Pirates’ game against NC Central on Dec. 4. The redshirt senior recorded just one block, but it was enough to give her 63 for her career which ranks 10th in the East Carolina annals. Edwards currently owns 64 career blocks in a Pirate uniform. Additionally, senior Celeste Stewart found her way into the ECU annals as she tallied five assists versus No. 17 North Carolina on Dec. 19, at the Beach Ball Classic. She now has 286 career assists to rank 10th in the ECU record books.
Closing in on the Top 10
Senior Shala Hodges is 13 three-pointers away from jumping into 10th place in the ECU all-time record books for most three-point field goals made in a career. Currently, Hodges has tallied 74 treys.
Off the Bench
The East Carolina women’s basketball team utilizes its bench as much as anyone, if not more. Last season, the Pirates’ bench outscored their opponents in 19-of-31 games and ECU’s bench tallied 656 points to their opponents’ 429. This season, the Pirates’ bench has outscored its opponents’ bench 295-189. ECU’s non-starters tallied 52 of the team’s 84 points in the Pirates’ win over St. Andrew’s on Nov. 11, and East Carolina’s bench recorded 45 of 79 points against Converse on Nov. 18.
Britny Edwards has tallied 143 points this season to average a team-high 11.9 points per game. She has led the team in scoring on five occassions. Not far behind Britny Edwards is her twin sister, Whitny Edwards, who has recorded 138 points on the season to average 11.5 points per game. The duo are the only two Pirates to average double-figures in scoring this season. Britny Edwards also leads the team with a 53.9-percent field goal percentage.
Cleaning up the Glass
Whitny Edwards and Britny Edwards have been doing their duty at the glass this season. The twins have totaled 173 rebounds as Britny has collected 94 and Whitny has added 79. Britny is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game which ranks eighth in the conference. Additionally, she is sixth in defensive rebounds (5.0) in Conference USA.
Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 36 steals to average 3.0 steals per game in for ECU. Against Converse, White grabbed a game-high eight steals to tie for sixth place in the ECU single-game record book. She is fourth in Conference USA in steals per contest.
Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart picked up right where she left off last season - leading the team in assists. The 5-foot-8 guard has dished out a team-leading 52 assists this season to average 4.3 assists per game which is good for second in C-USA statistics. She is currently in 10th place in the ECU career record books with 286 in her career. Kyani White is averaging 3.7 assists per contest to rank ninth in the conference.
Redshirt senior Britny Edwards recorded a game-high five blocks in the Pirates’ season opener at William & Mary. Her five blocks tied her career-high from a year ago when she tallied five stops versus Jacksonville on December 18, 2011. Last season, Britny Edwards finished the year with a team-leading 45 blocks. This season, Edwards has posted a team-leading 19 blocks to average 1.6 blocks per game which ranks fourth in Conference USA. In the Pirates’ win over NC Central, Edwards tallied her 63rd career block to break into the ECU all-time record book.
All-Tourney All The Time
The Pirates have played in a pair of tournaments this year and Britny Edwards has collected All-Tournament Team honors in each. During the Thanksgiving weekend, Britny Edwards averaged a double-double with 13.0 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game en route to being named the ECU Pirate Thanksgiving Tournament MVP. She shot 63.2-percent and recorded five blocks with two assists and one steal in the tournament. At the Navy Classic, she delivered once again as she recorded a pair of double-doubles and finished the weekend with a total of 32 points (16.0 points per game), 21 rebounds (10.5 rebounds per game), five steals, two blocks and a pair of assists as she was named to the Navy Classic All-Tournament Team.
ECU as a Team in C-USA
As a team the Pirates lead Conference USA in four categories. East Carolina has set the standard in scoring defense (52.3), steals (14.6), turnover margin (+8.5), and offensive rebounds (17.8). The Pirates rank in the top five in 15 of 21 categories in conference statistics.
ECU Players in C-USA
Individually, East Carolina has a number of players in the top 10 in conference statistics. Kyani White leads the conference in assists to turnover ratio (2.4) and is fourth in steals (3.0) and ninth in assists (3.7). Britny Edwards ranks fourth in blocked shots (1.6), sixth in defensive rebounds (5.0) and eighth in rebounds (7.8). Celeste Stewart is second in assists (4.3) and seventh in assists to turnover ratio (1.6), while Whitny Edwards is fifth in three-point made field goals as she averages 1.9.
The Pirates open up Conference USA action with Rice at Minges Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 10. ECU and Rice will tip-off at 7 p.m. The meeting marks the 10th between the two teams and Rice holds a slight edge on ECU as the Owls lead the all-time series 5-4. Last season, Rice defeated East Carolina, 66-44, in Houston, Texas. East Carolina last beat Rice on January 16, 2011 by a score of 66-55 in Greenville, N.C.