Jan. 24, 2014
The East Carolina women's basketball team travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on Conference USA foe Southern Miss on Saturday, January 25. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. (ET). Live stats and video will be available on ECUPirates.com as well as SouthernMiss.com.
The Pirates and the Golden Eagles will meet for the 23rd time in program history and East Carolina leads the all-time series 13-9. Last season, the two teams meet on three occasions and ECU went 2-1. The Pirates routed the Golden Eagles, 82-60, in Greenville, N.C., on February 17, 2013. However, the Golden Eagles evened the score in Hattiesburg, Miss., on March 7, 2013, as Southern Miss held off East Carolina 75-66, to close out the regular-season. The final meeting between the league rivals came on March 14, 2013 in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., and East Carolina came out victorious 89-60 to advance to the semifinals.
Last Time Out
East Carolina is coming off of a 53-47 win over Rice last Wednesday night to mark the Pirates' 23 consecutive home win. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne tallied her sixth double-double of the season as she registered a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two assists and one steal. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw led the Pirates with 11 boards and narrowly missed a double-double as she recorded a career-best nine points. Also notching double-figure rebounds was redshirt junior guard Abria Trice who collected 10 for a new career-high, while adding seven points, three steals and two assists. The game, which marked ECU's lowest scoring contest of the season, saw the Pirates shoot 30.2-percent from the field, while the Owls were limited to 27.8-percent. It was the second lowest scoring game of the year for Rice as Baylor held the Owls to 46 points on November 18. East Carolina led throughout the second half, but Rice stayed within striking distance. After cutting the Pirates' lead to just two points (46-44) with 3:34 on the clock, Trice would connect for a pair of crucial jumpers to give East Carolina the 53-47 victory.
About the Pirates
East Carolina has won eight of its last nine games to compile a 16-2 overall record and a 4-1 Conference USA mark to rank second in league standings. The Pirates are undefeated at home as they have posted a 10-0 record at Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum this season. As a team, ECU is shooting 41.8-percent from the field which ranks fifth in Conference USA. The Pirates are outscoring their opponents 74.3 points per game to 58.8 for a scoring margin of +15.4 which is good for first in the league and 18th in the nation. East Carolina owns the advantage in rebounding as the Pirates average 43.6 boards per game, while limiting their counterparts to a conference-leading 34.8 for a rebounding margin of +8.2 which also leads C-USA and ranks 22nd in the NCAA. Additionally, the Pirates lead the conference in blocked shots per game (5.2) and steals per contest (11.9). Those marks are also good for 18th and seventh, respectively, in the NCAA. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne is the team's leading scorer as she averages 20.3 points per game which is good for third in the league and 31st in the nation. Payne also leads the Pirates in rebounding with an average of 7.6 boards per game to rank 10th in C-USA. The Hickory, N.C., native owns a three-point field goal percentage of 41.1 which ranks her 23rd in the NCAA and third in the conference. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice is ECU's second leading scorer with 16.6 points per game which is good for eighth in the league. She also contributes 4.3 rebounds per game, a team-best 32 steals, 24 assists and 12 blocks. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw has been key on defense for East Carolina as she leads the team and conference with 3.1 blocks per game. Her blocks per game average is also good for 10th in the nation. Shaw is second on the team with 7.3 rebounds per game, which ranks 13th in C-USA, while adding 3.3 points per game and 17 steals.
Scouting the Golden Eagles
Southern Miss owns a 13-5 overall record and a 2-3 Conference USA mark. The Golden Eagles have played well inside the Reed Green Coliseum compiling an 11-1 record with their only loss coming to Old Dominion (92-82) on January 15. Southern Miss is looking to snap a three-game losing streak as they have dropped contests to ODU, Tulane (73-71) and UTEP (86-85). Their last two games were one-possession games decided in overtime. The Golden Eagles are second in the conference in scoring offense as they are averaging 78.4 points per game. In allowing 65.1 points per game, Southern Miss owns a scoring margin of +13.3 to rank fourth in the league. Southern Miss is shooting a league-leading 46.8-percent from the field and its three-point field goal percentage of 32.5 ranks fourth in the conference. The Golden Eagles also lead C-USA in assists per game as they average 19.1 which is 2.7 more per contest than any other team in the league. Jamierra Faulkner is the Golden Eagles leader in scoring (15.4 points per game), assists (156), and steals (54). Her points per game average ranks 10th in the league, while she averages 3.0 steals per game for second in the conference. Faulkner's 8.7 assists per game lead both Conference USA and the nation as she has dished out 156 helpers in 18 games thus far. Tamara Jones (14.7 points per game) and Jerontay Clemons (11.3 points per game) are the Golden Eagles other double-figure scorers. Jones leads the squad in rebounding with 6.3 per contest, while Clemons averages 4.9 boards per game.
Home Sweet Home
Last season, ECU closed out the year with an impressive 14-1 record while playing at Minges Coliseum. After starting the 2013-14 season with a 10-0 record in Greenville, the Pirates have extended their home winning streak to 23 games. East Carolina has not lost a home match in more than a year as the last time the Pirates were defeated inside Minges Coliseum was on November 17, 2012 when they dropped a 72-62 decision to College of Charleston.
In the Nation
In the NCAA's weekly national statistical rankings East Carolina is ranked in the top 50 in 10 categories. The Pirates are seventh in the nation in steals per game as they average 11.9. Additionally, ECU is 11th in win-loss percentage (88.2), 17th in three-point field goal percent defense (26.5), 18th in blocks per game (5.4) and 18th in scoring margin (+16.0). The Pirates are also ranked 22nd in rebounding margin (+8.5), 25th in field goal percent defense (35.4), 36th in free throw percentage (74.5), 41st in scoring defense (59.5), and 50th in scoring offense (75.5).
A defensively strong team, East Carolina has limited its opponents to 58.8 points per game, while averaging 74.3 points per game for a scoring margin of +15.4. The Pirates' scoring margin leads the conference while their scoring defense ranks second in C-USA. The marks are also ranked 18th and 41st in the NCAA, respectively. Additionally, the Pirates have collected 214 steals to average 11.9 per game to lead the league and rank seventh in the nation. ECU has also forced their counterparts into 378 turnovers to average 21.0 per game. The Pirates have also put up 93 blocks to average 5.2 per game which leads the league and ranks 18th in the nation.
Pouring In The Points
The Pirates have a pair of double-figure scorers in redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne and redshirt junior guard Abria Trice. Payne leads the Pirates with 20.3 points per game, while Trice averages 16.6. Their averages rank third and eighth, respectively, in the conference. As a team, ECU owns a scoring offense of 74.3 to rank fourth in the league and in the Top-50 in the nation, while the Pirates limit their opponents to 58.8 points per game for a scoring margin of +15.4, which ranks second and first, respectively, in the conference and 41st and 18th, respectively, in the nation.
Thanks For the Assistance
The Pirates have dished out 257 assists this season to average 14.3 per game which ranks fourth in Conference USA. Junior guard Janesha Ebron is the team-leader with 87 helpers on the year to average 4.8 per game which ranks her fifth in the conference. She also is second in C-USA with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.0.
Cleaning Up The Glass
The Pirates have accumulated 784 rebounds to average 43.6 per game to lead Conference USA. In holding their opponents to 35.4 rebounds per game, the Pirates own a rebounding margin of +8.2 which leads C-USA and is good for 22nd in the nation. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne is the Pirates' leader in rebounding as she averages 7.6 boards per game, while redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw averages 7.3. The pair rank 10th and 13th in the league, respectively.
Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Like their namesake, the Pirates are known for steals. ECU has grabbed 214 steals this season to average 11.9 per game which is tops in Conference USA and ranks seventh in the NCAA. The Pirates have forced their opponents into 21.0 turnovers per game and own a turnover margin of +2.2. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice leads the Pirates with 32 steals to average 1.8 per game which ties her for 12th in the league.
ECU has put up 93 blocks to average 5.2 per game which leads Conference USA statistics and is good for 18th in the nation. The Pirates have limited their opponents to 3.3 blocks per game on the year. Junior post Ondrea Shaw leads the team with 55 blocks for an average of 3.1 blocks per game which leads the conference and ranks her 10th in the NCAA. With 55 blocks, Shaw is ranked fourth in the ECU single-season record book.
ECU in C-USA
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the top five in 18 of 21 Conference USA statistical categories this season. ECU leads the league in 10 categories. The Pirates lead the conference in scoring margin (+15.4), field goal percent defense (34.9), three-point field goal percent defense (25.9), rebounding offense (43.6), rebounding defense (35.4), rebounding margin (+8.2), blocked shots per game (5.2), steals per game (11.9), offensive rebounds per game (17.3), and offensive rebounding percentage (44.3).
Pirates in C-USA
Four Pirates have found themselves ranked in the top 20 in Conference USA individual statistics this year. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw leads the league in blocks per game with 3.1. She also ranks eighth in offensive rebounds per game (3.2) and 13th in rebounds per game (7.3). Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne leads the conference in free throw percentage (88.0), while ranking third in three-point field goal percentage (41.1) as well as in scoring (20.3 points per game). She also ranks fifth in three-point field goals made per game (2.1), ninth in offensive rebounds per game (3.1), 10th in rebounding (7.6 per game), 12th in field goal percentage (48.6), and 12th in defensive rebounds per game (4.4). Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice is ranked eighth in scoring (16.6 points per game) , ninth in free throw percentage (82.5), 11th in field goal percentage (49.8), and tied for 12th in steals per game (1.8). Junior guard Janesha Ebron ranks second in assist to turnover ratio (2.0) and fifth in assists per game (4.8).
C-USA Freshman of the Week
On Monday, December 16, freshman guard J'Kyra Brown earned her first-ever Conference USA Freshman of the Week honor for her performance at the ULM Warhawk Classic. Brown helped the Pirates to a 1-1 record and an appearance in the Warhawk Classic championship game after averaging 10.5 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 1.0 assists per game, 0.5 steals per game, and 0.5 blocks per game. She finished the weekend shooting 53.8-percent from the field, 57.1-percent from beyond the arc, and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Brown poured in 18 points in the Pirates' 85-42 victory over Alcorn State last Friday to secure ECU's place in the championship contest. She earned the honors along with Takia Brooks of Florida Atlantic and Tamara Jones of Southern Miss who took home Co-Player of the Week accolades. Brown is the first Pirate to collect the award this season.
The "New" Conference USA
Conference USA was one of the many conferences that saw realignments over the summer. July 1, 2013 marked the addition of Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, LA Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, and UTSA to C-USA. While the conference expanded with the eight new member institutions, it also parted ways with Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF as all four joined the American Athletic Conference. 2013 will mark the last year of ECU's affiliation with Conference USA as the Pirates will join the American Athletic Conference beginning next season.
Senior post Ariana Jackson will be out for the season due to an injury.
East Carolina returns home to Greenville, N.C., for a pair of home contests against Old Dominion on Wednesday, January 29, followed by Charlotte on Saturday, February 1. The ECU-ODU game will tip-off at 7 p.m., while the Pirates-49ers contest will begin at 5 p.m. Live stats, video and audio will be available on ECUPirates.com.