Pirates Welcome Charlotte for Conference USA Tilt

J'Kyra Brown

Jan. 31, 2014

Game 21: Charlotte at East Carolina
Date Saturday, February 1
Time 5:00 p.m. (ET)
Location Greenville, N.C. | Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
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The Game
The East Carolina women’s basketball team welcomes in-state and Conference USA rival Charlotte to Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum on Saturday, February 1. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.

The Series
The Pirates and the 49ers will meet for the 32nd time in program history and Charlotte leads the all-time series 23-8. East Carolina and Charlotte will face each other for the first time since 2010, when Charlotte defeated ECU, 79-61, on December 5, in Charlotte, N.C. The Pirates are looking for their first victory over the 49ers since November 13, 2009, when ECU routed Charlotte, 84-61 in Greenville, N.C. Charlotte has won five of the last six contests against the Pirates dating back to 2004.

Last Time Out
East Carolina is coming off of a 64-63 win over Old Dominion on Thursday night. The Pirates’ victory marked their 24th straight home win and their first victory over ODU since 1992 as ECU snapped a 28-game losing streak against the Monarchs. Junior guard Janesha Ebron sunk a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Pirates. She went on to finish the game with six points, five assists and four rebounds. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne led all scorers with 23 points to mark her 13th game as the leading scorer and her 12th game with 20-plus points. Payne also added nine rebounds for the Pirates. Junior forward Shae Nelson registered a career-high 17 points to go along with two boards and one steal, while redshirt junior guard Abria Trice added 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. East Carolina shot 39.3-percent from the field, 37.5-percent from three-point range, and 82.4-percent from the free throw line. The Pirates out-rebounded the Monarchs, 40-36, and held the advantage in assists, 14-10, and blocks, 5-2. Old Dominion finished the game with three double-figure scorers in Shae Kelley (20 points), Chelisa Painter (13 points), and Becca Allison (13 points). Painter finished the game with a double-double as she added a game-high 11 rebounds.

About the Pirates
East Carolina has won four of its last five games and nine of its last 11 to compile a 17-3 overall record and a 5-2 Conference USA ledger. The Pirates are currently undefeated at home with an 11-0 mark and have won 24 consecutive games at Minges Coliseum. ECU is a defensively strong team as the Pirates are leading the conference in field goal percent defense (35.4), three-point field goal percent defense (26.6), rebounding defense (35.5), blocked shots per game (5.1), and steals per game (11.4). The Pirates’ steals per game average is good for eighth in the nation, while their three-point field goal percent defense ranks 14th. Offensively, East Carolina is shooting 41.9-percent to rank fourth in C-USA. The Pirates are averaging 74.1 points per game, while limiting their opponents to 60.2 for a scoring margin of +13.9 which ranks second in the league and 23rd in the NCAA. The Pirates are out-rebounding their counterparts 43.7 - 35.5 for a league-leading rebounding margin of +8.2 which also is good for 25th in the nation. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne is the squad’s leading scorer as she averages 20.8 points per game to rank third in C-USA and 29th in the nation. She also sets the standard for ECU in rebounding with an average of 7.7 boards per contest. Payne’s field goal percentage of 49.5 ranks ninth in the conference, while her three-point field goal percentage of 42.5 is good for third, and her free throw percentage of 86.4 places her second. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice is the Pirates’ second leading scorer with 16.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league. Trice also adds 4.6 rebounds per game, a team-high 36 steals, 28 assists, and 13 blocks. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw leads East Carolina with 60 blocks to tie for third in the ECU single-season record book. Her average of 3.0 blocks per game leads the conference and ranks her 12th in the nation.

Scouting the 49ers
Charlotte comes into Minges Coliseum with a 10-9 overall record and a 4-2 Conference USA mark. The 49ers have won five of their last seven games with their only losses coming to UTSA (61-60) and Tulane (78-76 in OT). Charlotte is coming off of a 58-53 victory over Rice last Saturday in Charlotte. As a team, Charlotte is shooting 41.3-percent, while its opponents are shooting 40.1-percent. The 49ers average 69.8 points per game, but their defense has allowed 68.6. Charlotte holds the advantage in rebounding 40.3 boards per contest to 39.1. The 49ers have four double-figure scorers in redshirt junior forward Gabby Tyler (12.2 points per game), senior guard Ny Hammonds (12.2 points per game), sophomore forward Kira Gordon (11.2 points per game), and junior guard Hillary Sigmon (10.7 points per game). Tyler is also the team’s leading rebounder as she averages 7.4 boards per game while contributing a team-leading 32 blocks, 11 assists and five steals. Hammonds leads Charlotte with 96 assists to average 5.6 per contest which ranks her fourth in Conference USA. Gordon is the 49ers leader in steals as she has collected 27 on the year.

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 11-0 record in Greenville, the Pirates have extended their home winning streak to 24 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 eight categories. The Pirates are eighth in the nation in steals per game as they average 11.4. Additionally, ECU is ranked 14th in three-point field goal percent defense (26.6), 15th in win-loss percentage (85.0), 22nd in both field goal percent defense (35.4) and blocked shots per game (5.1), 25th in rebounding margin (+8.2), 23rd in scoring margin (+13.9), and 43rd in scoring defense (60.2).

Getting Defensive
A defensively strong team, East Carolina has limited its opponents to 60.2 points per game, while averaging 74.1 points per game for a scoring margin of +13.9. The Pirates’ scoring margin ranks second in the conference as does their scoring defense. The marks are also ranked 23rd and 43rd in the NCAA, respectively. Additionally, the Pirates have collected 228 steals to average 11.4 per game to lead the league and rank eighth in the nation. ECU has also forced their counterparts into 406 turnovers to average 20.3 per game. The Pirates have put up 102 blocks to average 5.1 per game which leads the league and ranks 22nd 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 20.8 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 74.1 to rank fourth in the league and in the Top-60 in the nation, while the Pirates limit their opponents to 60.2 points per game for a scoring margin of +13.9, as both marks rank second in the conference and 43rd and 23rd, respectively, in the nation.
Thanks For the Assistance
The Pirates have dished out 287 assists this season to average 14.4 per game which ranks fourth in Conference USA. Junior guard Janesha Ebron is the team-leader with 96 helpers on the year to average 4.8 per game which ranks her fifth in the conference. She also leads C-USA with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.0.

Cleaning Up The Glass
The Pirates have accumulated 874 rebounds to average 43.7 per game to rank second in Conference USA. In holding their opponents to 35.5 rebounds per game, the Pirates own a rebounding margin of +8.2 which leads C-USA and is good for 25th in the nation. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne is the Pirates’ leader in rebounding as she averages 7.7 boards per game, while redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw averages 7.4. The pair rank ninth and 13th in the league, respectively.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Like their namesake, the Pirates are known for steals. ECU has grabbed 228 steals this season to average 11.4 per game which is tops in Conference USA and ranks eighth in the NCAA. The Pirates have forced their opponents into 20.3 turnovers per game and own a turnover margin of +1.3. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice leads the Pirates with 36 steals to average 1.8 per game which ties her for 12th in the league.

Block Party
ECU has put up 102 blocks to average 5.1 per game which leads Conference USA statistics and is good for 22nd in the nation. The Pirates have limited their opponents to 3.2 blocks per game on the year. Junior post Ondrea Shaw leads the team with 60 blocks for an average of 3.0 blocks per game which leads the conference and ranks her 12th in the NCAA. With 60 blocks, Shaw is tied for third in the ECU single-season record book.

As a team, East Carolina ranks in the top five in 17 of 21 Conference USA statistical categories this season. ECU leads the league in eight categories. The Pirates lead the conference in field goal percent defense (35.4), three-point field goal percent defense (26.6), rebounding defense (35.5), rebounding margin (+8.2), blocked shots per game (5.1), steals per game (11.4), offensive rebounds per game (17.2), and offensive rebound percentage (44.0).

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 3.0. She also ranks ninth in offensive rebounds per game (3.2) and 13th in rebounds per game (7.4). Junior guard Janesha Ebron leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio with a mark of 2.0. She also ranks fifth in assists per game as she averages 4.8. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne is second in the league in free throw percentage (86.4), and third in scoring (20.8 points per game) as well as three-point field goal percentage (42.5), and three-point made field goals per game (2.3). Payne also ranks seventh in offensive rebounds per game (3.2), ninth in both rebounding (7.7 boards per contest) and field goal percentage (49.5), while coming in 13th in defensive rebounds per game (4.5). Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice ranks in four statistical categories as she is eighth in scoring (16.6 points per game), ninth in free throw percentage (81.1), 11th in field goal percentage (49.4), and 12th in steals per game (1.8).

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.

Coming Up...
East Carolina travels to Huntington, W.Va., on Wednesday, February 5, to take on Marshall in a mid-week Conference USA contest. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available on ECUPirates.com.