Women's Hoops Welcomes Conference Leader SMU to Minges

UABSPORTS.COM Colleen Marshall
UABSPORTS.COM
Colleen Marshall
UABSPORTS.COM

Feb. 13, 2013

Game 23: SMU at East Carolina
Date Thursday, February 14
Time 7 p.m. (ET)
Location Greenville, N.C. | Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
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GREENVILLE, N.C. –The East Carolina women’s basketball team looks to get back on the winning track as it plays host to conference leader SMU on Thursday, February 14. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.

The Game: SMU at ECU
East Carolina will host conference leader SMU at Minges Coliseum on Thursday, February 14. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (ET). The Pirates are 16-6 on the season and are 6-3 in C-USA action. The Mustangs own a record of 18-4 and are a perfect 9-0 in conference play.

The Series
The Pirates and Mustangs will meet for the 10th time in program history and SMU holds a slight edge in the all-time series, 5-4. Last season, the Mustangs defeated the Pirates, 68-44, in Dallas, Texas. ECU was last victorious over SMU on February 17, 2011, in Greenville, N.C., when the Pirates held off the Mustangs, 77-70.

Last Time Out
The Pirates enter the game against SMU looking to get back on the winning track after dropping a 62-58 decision to UAB last Sunday. In that contest, ECU was led by Whitny Edwards and Britny Edwards as the pair tallied double-figures with Whitny leading the squad with 17 and Britny adding 10. Whitny Edwards’ 17 points was just one shy of her season-high. The redshirt senior forward also contributed three rebounds and two steals. Britny Edwards posted a team-high seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. Janesha Ebron came off the bench and tallied nine points, four boards, four steals, and one assist, while Kyani White recorded eight points, a team-best five assists, two rebounds, and a steal. Tatiana Chapple posted six boards, four points and an assist in the setback. Despite leading UAB in the first half by as many as 10 points, the Blazers chipped away at the Pirates’ lead in the second half and eventually took the game, 62-58, snapping ECU’s five-game win streak.

About the Pirates
East Carolina owns a 16-6 overall record and a 6-3 conference mark. The Pirates are looking to get back on the winning track after seeing their five-game win streak snapped at UAB last Sunday. ECU owns an impressive 10-1 record at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates’ only home loss came on November 17, 2012 against College of Charleston (72-62). ECU is averaging 64.5 points per game this season, while limiting their opponents to 54.5, for a scoring margin of +10.0. The ECU defense has been solid this season as it is forcing 21.9 turnovers per game, while collecting 12.6 steals per contest, which is good for 10th in the nation. The Pirates have three double-figure scorers in Whitny Edwards (12.0 points per game), Celeste Stewart (11.0 ppg), and Britny Edwards (10.5 ppg). Britny Edwards is also the squad’s rebounding leader as she has collected 196 boards to average 8.9 per contest. She also leads the team in blocks with 29, along with a 50.3 shooting percentage. Whitny Edwards has been consistent for the Pirates all season as she averages 6.5 rebounds per game, and has added 38 steals and 41 assists. In addition to being the team’s second leading scorer, Stewart is the team leader in assists with 89. The senior point guard has been a major contributer as she has also posted 64 rebounds and 33 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 32 rebounds and 14 steals. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has grabbed 52 steals to lead the Pirates and average 2.4 steals per game. White has also added 6.0 points per game, 71 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Scouting The Mustangs
SMU enters Minges Coliseum leading Conference USA with a perfect 9-0 league mark and an 18-4 overall record which is good enough for the Mustangs to be receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls. The Mustangs have won 10 straight games dating back to December 30, 2012, when their 10-game winning streak began with an 88-73 win over Harvard. SMU is averaging 70.4 points per game and holding opponents to 59.9, for a scoring margin of +10.5, to lead the conference. As a team, the Mustangs are shooting 40.3 percent from the field. Junior guard Keena Mays has started in all 14 games she has played this season and leads the squad with 20.6 points per game. She has also contributed 6.1 rebounds per game, 64 assists and 38 steals. Senior Alisha Filmore is the Mustangs’ second leading scorer as she averages 12.1 points per game. She also leads the team in steals with 51. Akil Simpson is averaging 10.5 points per contest to go along with a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game. Korina Baker has recorded a team-high 82 assists while adding 6.0 points per contest and 42 steals this season.

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 44-40 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 159-79 career record and is 95-45 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.

SMU: Rhonda Rompola (SMU, 1983) has been at the helm of the SMU women’s basketball team for 21 seasons and owns a 396-257 overall record. Since her hiring, she has established a winning tradition, guiding SMU to a 17-12 record in her debut season. In 2010, SMU earned a WNIT appearance and finished the year with a 20-11 record as the Mustangs reached the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season, which totals a program-best three-year span of 64 wins between the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons. During the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons, Rompola guided the Mustangs to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history. At the end of the 2000 season, she was named Dallas Morning News WAC Coach-of-the-Year after her team captured the WAC regular season championship which was a first for the program. This season, Rompola has led her squad to an 18-4 overall record and a perfect 9-0 mark to lead Conference USA.

The National Spotlight
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the Top 50 in six categories in NCAA Division I statistics. The Pirates are in 10th in steals per game (12.6), 10th three-point field goal defense (25.1), 17th in turnover margin (5.55), 44th in scoring defense (54.5), 45th assists per game (15.5), and 47th in field goal percent defense (35.9). The NCAA ranks the top 250 student-athletes and four Pirates rank in six categories. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White ranks 44th in assists to turnover ratio (1.87) and 128th in steals per game (2.36). Senior Celeste Stewart ranks 86th in assist to turnover ratio (1.59) and 112th in assists per game (4.0), while redshirt senior Britny Edwards ranks 82nd in rebounds per game (8.9) and 112th in blocked shots per game (1.32). Whitny Edwards ranks 181st in three-point field goals per game as she averages 1.87.

On This Date in ECU Women’s Basketball History
The East Carolina women’s basketball team has played in 10 contests on February 14th since the program’s inception. The first game that took place on that date was in ECU’s inaugural season in 1970, when the Pirates dropped a 52-47 decision to Old Dominion. Since then, the Pirates have recorded a 5-5 record on February 14th, with their last contest taking place in 2003 at Marquette. In that game, the ECU fell to the Golden Eagles 84-68. East Carolina is 4-1 on February 14th, when playing at Minges Coliseum.

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 seventh in career blocks with 74, while Celeste Stewart sits in ninth with 323 career assists.

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 444-277. 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 23 points at Houston on February 7th, while the Cougar’s bench was limited to just eight points. In that contest, ECU defeated Houston, 68-59.

Cleaning up the Glass
Whitny Edwards and Britny Edwards have been doing their duty at the glass this season. The twins have totaled 338 rebounds as Britny has collected a team-leading 196 and Whitny has added 142. Britny is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game which is tied for second in the conference. Additionally, she is third in defensive rebounds per game (5.6) and fourth in offensive rebounds per game (3.3) in Conference USA. This season, Britny Edwards has recorded a pair of 15-plus rebound games, while Sunday, February 3, Whitny Edwards notched a season-best 11 rebounds in the Pirates 59-48 win over UCF.

Getting Offensive
This season, the Pirates are outscoring their opponents 64.5 points per game to 54.5 to boast a scoring margin of +10.0. A large part of the offense has come from seniors Whitny Edwards, Celeste Stewart, and Britny Edwards. Whitny is the Pirates’ leading scorer as she averages 12.0 points per game. Stewart is right behind her as she averages 11.0 points per game, while Britny Edwards is averaging 10.5 points per game.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 52 steals to average 2.4 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 tied for ninth in Conference USA in steals per contest.

Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart has dished out a team-leading 89 assists this season to average 4.0 assists per game which is good for a fourth-place tie in Conference USA statistics. She is currently in ninth place in the ECU career record books with 323 in her career. Stewart is sixth in the conference in assists to turnover ratio with a mark of 1.6. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has amassed 71 assists on the year and she sets the standard in C-USA in assist to turnover ratio (1.9).

Block Party
Redshirt senior Britny Edwards tied a career-high five blocks in the Pirates’ season opener at William & Mary. This season, Edwards has posted a team-leading 29 blocks to average 1.3 blocks per game which is good for third 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. She is now ranked seventh on the all-time blocks list with a total of 74.

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 (54.5), three-point field goal percent defense (.251), steals per game (12.6), and turnover margin (+5.5). 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. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio (1.9) and is tied for ninth in steals per game (2.4). Redshirt senior Britny Edwards is tied for second in rebounds per game (8.9), third in defensive rebounds per game (5.6), fourth in offensive rebounds per game (3.3), fifth in field goal percentage (.503), and is tied for fifth blocked shots per game (1.3). Senior Celeste Stewart is tied for fourth in assists per game (4.0), sixth in assist to turnover ratio (1.6), and tied for eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.341). Redshirt senior Whitny Edwards is sixth in the conference in three-point field goals made per game as she averages 1.8.

Coming Up...
The Pirates welcome Southern Miss to Minges Coliseum on Sunday, February 17, at 1 p.m. ECU and Southern Miss will meet for the 20th time in program history and the Pirates lead the all-time series 11-8. Live stats, video, and a live internet broadcast will be available on ECUPirates.com.