ECU Heads to Memphis for Thursday Night Conference Action

Krisine Mial

Jan. 16, 2013

Game 16: East Carolina at Memphis
Date Thursday, Jan. 17
Time 8 p.m. (ET)
Location Memphis, Tenn. | Elma Roane Fieldhouse
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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina women’s basketball team is looking to rebound from its recent loss at UTEP as it heads to Memphis for a Thursday evening conference game. The Pirates and Tigers will face off on January 17, at 8 p.m. (ET) at Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

The Game: ECU at Memphis
East Carolina continues its road swing with a contest at Memphis on Thursday, January 17, at 8 p.m. (ET) at Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Both squads are 1-1 in Conference USA action and ECU holds an 11-4 overall record, while Memphis is 10-6.

The Series
The Pirates and Tigers will meet for the 21st time in program history and the all-time series is knotted at 10-10. Last season the Tigers swept ECU in a pair of contests, edging the Pirates, 62-59, in Memphis, before defeating them, 69-56, in Greenville, N.C. East Carolina is looking for its first victory over Memphis since March 9, 2010, when the Pirates held off the Tigers, 73-66, at the Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.

Last Time Out
The Pirates are looking to rebound from their 81-66 loss at UTEP last Sunday. In that contest, ECU started the game well and led the entire first half as the Pirate defense limited the Miners to a 25-percent shooting clip. The East Carolina defense did not allow UTEP to score a field goal for nearly five minutes during the first half. The Pirates led at the half, 35-27. UTEP came back in the second half and ended up defeating ECU by a score of 81-66. Britny Edwards registered 13 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the year to go along with two assists and one block, while Celeste Stewart notched 12 points, a season-high eight boards, five assists, one steal, and one block. Whitny Edwards also contributed 12 points and added four rebounds, while Kyani White tallied 11 points, two boards, a pair of assists and one steal. Tatiana Chapple turned in a solid performance with five rebounds, four points, one assist, and a steal, while Ariana Jackson came off the bench and registered five boards, three points and a block.

About the Pirates
East Carolina will enter Elma Roane Fieldhouse with an 11-4 overall record and a 1-1 C-USA mark. The Pirates are averaging 66.7 points per game this season, while limiting their opponents to 53.5. The ECU defense has been solid this season as it is forcing 24.1 turnovers per game, while collecting 13.9 steals per contest, which is good for third in the nation. The Pirates have three double-figure scorers in Whitny Edwards (11.8 points per game), Britny Edwards (11.4), and Celeste Stewart (10.1). Britny Edwards is the squad’s rebounding leader as she has collected 125 boards to average 8.3 per contest. She is also leads the team in blocks with 22 and a 52.1 shooting percentage. Whitny Edwards has been consistent for the Pirates all season as she averages 6.5 rebounds per game, and has added 23 steals and 29 assists. In addition to averaging 10.1 points per game, Stewart is the team leader with 69 assists. The senior point guard has been a major contributer as she has also posted 39 rebounds and 27 steals. Junior Kristine Mial has made an immediate impact since returning to the Pirates’ lineup after sitting out the first 10 games of the season due to an injury. Since her return, she is averaging 9.6 points per game and has collected 10 rebounds and five steals. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has grabbed 43 steals to lead the Pirates and average 2.9 steals per game, which ranks in the top 50 in the nation. White has also added 5.7 points per game, 51 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Scouting The Tigers
Memphis comes into the game against the Pirates with a 10-6 overall record and a 1-1 conference mark. The Tigers opened conference play with a 77-74 loss at Houston before defeating Southern Miss, 63-57, last Sunday.  Memphis is averaging 72.9 points per game and holding its opponents to 66.5 for a scoring margin of 6.4. Nicole Dickson, the conference leader in points per game, leads the squad with 19.9. Additionally, the senior forward is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game and has accumulated a team-leading 32 steals and 33 assists to go along with 15 blocks. Ariel Hearn is the Tigers’ second leading scorer as she is averaging 15.1 points per contest. She has added 5.6 boards per game, a team-high 71 assists and 24 steals. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is a redshirt junior guard who is averaging 10.2 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, 24 assists, 16 steals and two blocks. Memphis also boasts the reigning C-USA Freshman of the Week in Asianna Fuqua-Bey who is averaging 6.3 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, 15 steals, eight assists, and four blocks on the year.

The Coaches
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 39-38 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 154-77 career record and is 90-43 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.

Memphis: Melissa McFerrin (Missouri, 1983) is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Memphis women’s basketball program and in just two seasons into her hiring has taken a team that went 10-20 in 2007-08 to a 20-win season and the Tigers’ first post-season tournament appearance since the 2003-04 season. En route to leading the Tigers to their post-season bid, McFerrin’s squad accomplished a number of firsts during the regular season as they swept three East Division C-USA foes for the first time since the league went to East/West divisions, and helped a trio of Tigers earn post-season honors. Memphis, which was tied for second in the C-USA Championships, eventually accepted a post-season tournament bid into the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) field, defeating UMKC, Wichita State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to advance to the championship game at Appalachian State. McFerrin came to Memphis after serving as the head coach at American University and the University of Minnesota.

The National Spotlight
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the Top 50 in seven categories in NCAA Division I statistics. The Pirates are in third in steals per game (13.9), ninth in turnover margin (7.2), 24th in assists per game (16.6), 30th in scoring defense (53.5), 38th in scoring margin (13.1), 43rd in field-goal percent defense (35.0), and 46th in assists to turnover ratio (0.98). Individually, redshirt sophomore Kyani White is the only Pirate who ranks in the top 50 in the NCAA statistical categories. She is 42nd in assists to turnover ratio (1.89) and 46th in steals per game (2.87).

On This Date in ECU Women’s Basketball History
The East Carolina women’s basketball team has played in 10 contests on January 17th since the program’s inception. The first game took place in 1975, when ECU defeated Western Carolina, 74-67. Since then, the Pirates have recorded a 4-6 record on January 17th, with their last contest taking place in 2010 at Rice in a Conference USA game in Houston, Texas. In that game, the Pirates fell to the Owls, 77-74. ECU’s most memorable game that took place on January 17th was in 1981 when the Pirates routed William & Mary, 108-49, in Greenville, N.C. The 108 points scored by the East Carolina offense still ranks in the top 10 in points scored in a single contest.

Cracking the Top 10
A pair of Pirates have found their way into the East Carolina women’s basketball career record books with their performances this season. Britny Edwards is currently ranked eighth in career blocks with 67, while Celeste Stewart sits in ninth with 303 career assists.

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. This season, the Pirates’ bench has outscored its opponents’ bench 348-216. ECU’s non-starters tallied 52 of the team’s 84 points in the Pirates’ win over St. Andrew’s on November 11, and East Carolina’s bench recorded 45 of 79 points against Converse on November 18. Most recently, the Pirates’ bench notched 26 points versus’ George Mason on January 2, while the Patriots’ bench was limited to just four points. In that contest, ECU cruised past George Mason, 71-53.

Cleaning up the Glass
Whitny Edwards and Britny Edwards have been doing their duty at the glass this season. The twins have totaled 222 rebounds as Britny has collected 125 and Whitny has added 97. Britny is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game which ranks fifth in the conference. Additionally, she is fifth in defensive rebounds (5.2) and tied for eight in offensive rebounds (3.1) in Conference USA.

Getting Offensive
This season, the Pirates are outscoring their opponents 66.7 points per game to 53.5 to boast a scoring margin of +13.1, which leads ranks in the top 40 in the NCAA. A large part of the offense has come from redshirt seniors Whitny and Britny Edwards. Whitny is the Pirates’ leading scorer as she averages 11.8 points per game, however, Britny is hot on her heels with an average of 11.4 points per contest. Additionally, Britny is leading the team with a 52.1-percent shooting clip to rank third in C-USA, while Whitny is shooting 39.8-percent.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 43 steals to average 2.9 steals per game 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 fifth in Conference USA and 42nd in the nation in steals per contest.

Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart has dished out a team-leading 69 assists this season to average 4.6 assists per game which is good for second in C-USA statistics. She is currently in ninth place in the ECU career record books with 303 in her career.

Block Party
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 22 blocks to average 1.5 blocks per game which ties for fifth 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.

ECU as a Team in C-USA
As a team the Pirates lead Conference USA in three categories. East Carolina has set the standard in steals per game (13.9), turnover margin (+7.2), and offensive rebounds per game (17.0). The Pirates rank in the top five in 13 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. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White is second in assists to turnover ratio (1.9) and fifth in steals per game (2.9). Senior Celeste Stewart is second in assists per game (4.6) and fifth in assists to turnover ratio (1.6). Britny Edwards ranks third in field goal percentage (.521), fifth in rebounds per game (8.3), fifth in defensive rebounds per game (5.2), tied for fifth in blocked shots per game (1.5), and tied for eighth in offensive rebounds per game (3.1). Whitny Edwards is ranked sixth in three-point field goals made per game with an average of 1.7.

Coming Up...
The Pirates return to the friendly confines of Minges Coliseum for a Sunday afternoon contest against Tulsa on January 20, at 1 p.m. The meeting marks the 11th contest between the two squads and the all-time series is evened at 5-5. Last season, ECU and Tulsa met in both the regular season and Conference USA Tournament. During the regular season, the Golden Hurricane defeated the Pirates, 75-70, on February 19th in Tulsa, Okla. However, in the conference tournament, East Carolina ended Tulsa’s season after collecting a 59-49 victory over the Golden Hurricane on March 7th at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.