East Carolina Travels to the Lone Star State

Chanel Green

Feb. 19, 2014

Game 25: East Carolina at UTSA
Date Thursday, February 20
Time 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Location San Antonio, Texas
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The Game
The East Carolina women’s basketball team travels to San Antonio, Texas, to take on UTSA in a mid-week Conference USA contest on Thursday, February 20, at 8 p.m. ET.   

The Series
The Pirates and the Roadrunners will meet for the first time in program history. UTSA previously competed in the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA on July 1, 2013.  

Last Time Out
East Carolina used a 10-0 run in the second half to surge past North Texas, 56-49, for the Pirates’ 26th straight home win at Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw led the Pirates with a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with a game-best five blocks, three points, and two steals. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne tallied her 13th 20-point performance and her 23rd double-figure effort of the year with 24 points while adding seven boards and one assist. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice registered her 20th double-figure game of the season as she poured in 17 points. Trice also contributed seven rebounds and one assist. Junior guard Janesha Ebron led ECU with a game-high four assists in the victory. The contest was a defensive affair as the Pirates shot 32.1-percent from the field, 23.8-percent from beyond the arc, and 88.2-percent from the free throw line. North Texas’ offense was hampered by the ECU defense as the Mean Green shot 31.5-percent from the floor, 18.2-percent from three-point range, and 76.5-percent from the charity stripe. East Carolina out-rebounded North Texas, 44-35, and the Pirates also held the edge on assists, 9-5, and blocks, 5-0. However, North Texas collected 12 steals to ECU’s 10. Despite getting on the board first, the Pirates fell behind the Mean Green by halftime, trailing 25-22, to mark ECU’s lowest scoring output of the season in the first half. The Pirates fought back in the second half and managed to turn a five-point deficit (32-37) into a five-point lead (42-37) after going on a 10-0 run. Despite North Texas’ efforts, the Mean Green were unable to pull within more than three points of the Pirates as ECU went on to win, 56-49.

About the Pirates
East Carolina is riding a five-game winning streak and has won eight of its last nine games en route to compiling a 21-3 overall record and a 9-2 Conference USA mark. The Pirates have reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in program history. The Pirates own a scoring offense of 73.2 points per game and their defense limits opponents to 60.0 points per game for a scoring margin of +13.2 which ranks second in the conference and 24th in the nation. ECU is a defensively strong team that limits teams to 35.3-percent shooting from the field which leads the conference and ranks 17th in the NCAA. The Pirates’ three-point field goal percent defense of 25.5 also leads the league and is good for sixth in the nation. The Pirates average 5.3 blocked shots per game which is good for first in C-USA and 18th in the NCAA. ECU’s steals per game average of 10.9 ranks second in the league and 11th in the nation. ECU is led offensively by redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne who averages 19.9 points per game to rank fifth in the league. She also leads the Pirates in rebounding with 7.3 boards per game for 10th in the conference. Payne has contributed 41 assists, 35 steals, and three blocks on the year. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice is the team’s second leading scorer with 16.6 points per game to go along with 5.0 rebounds per game, a team-best 41 steals, 33 assists and 15 blocks. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw leads East Carolina with 78 blocks to average 3.3 per game which leads C-USA and ranks 10th in the nation. Shaw also adds 7.3 rebounds per game, which is good from 11th in the league, 3.3 points per game, 23 steals and 14 assists.

Scouting the Roadrunners
UTSA snapped a six-game losing streak with a 63-61 victory at Rice last Saturday. The Roadrunners are now 12-12 overall and 3-8 in Conference USA action. Their three C-USA wins have come against Charlotte (61-60), North Texas (58-56), and Rice (63-61). The Roadrunners are shooting 36.1-percent from the field and average 59.6 points per game. However, the UTSA defense allows 63.5 points per game on 39.7-percent shooting. The Roadrunners trail their opponents in rebounds (38.1 - 39.2), assists (9.9 - 12.2) and blocks (3.0 - 3.7), but hold the advantage in steals (8.7 - 6.9). Junior guard Kamra King is UTSA’s leading scorer as she averages 14.3 points per game as the Roadrunners only double-figure scorer. She also adds 3.2 rebounds per game to go along with a team-best 48 steals, 30 assists and two blocks on the year. Sophomore forward Mannasha Bell leads the Roadrunners in rebounding as she has racked up 128 boards for an average of 5.3 per game. She also contributes 5.7 points per game, 20 steals, 10 assists and four blocks. Senior guard Miki Turner leads the squad with 64 assists while adding 9.4 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game, 17 steals, and seven blocks for UTSA.

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 13-0 record in Greenville, the Pirates have extended their home winning streak to 26 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 nine categories. The Pirates are sixth in the nation in three-point field goal defense (25.5), 11th in steals per game (10.9), 12th in won-loss percentage (87.5), 17th in field goal percent defense (35.3), 24th in scoring margin (+13.2), 24th in rebounding margin (+8.0), 40th in scoring defense (60.0), and 44th in free throw percentage (73.7).

East Carolina reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in program history after defeating UAB, 83-73, in overtime at Bartow Arena. The Pirates registered their first back-to-back 20-win season since the 1986 as the 1984-85 squad tallied a 20-9 record and the 1985-86 team registered a program-best 24 victories. This season, East Carolina registered its 20th victory on February 8th marking the earliest the Pirates have ever reached that feat in ECU women’s basketball’s 44-year history. Additionally, the Pirates were the first Conference USA squad to reach 20 victories this season.

Getting Defensive
A defensively strong team, East Carolina has limited its opponents to 60.0 points per game, while averaging 73.2 points per game for a scoring margin of +13.2. The Pirates’ scoring margin ranks second in the conference as does their scoring defense. The marks are also ranked 24th and 40th in the NCAA, respectively. Additionally, the Pirates have collected 262 steals to average 10.9 per game to rank second in the league and place 11th in the nation. ECU has also forced their counterparts into 481 turnovers to average 20.0 per game. The Pirates have put up 128 blocks to average 5.3 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 19.9 points per game, while Trice averages 16.6. Their averages rank fifth and eighth, respectively, in the conference. As a team, ECU owns a scoring offense of 73.2 to rank fourth in the league, while the Pirates limit their opponents to 60.0 points per game for a scoring margin of +13.2, as both marks rank second in the conference and 24th and 40th, respectively, in the nation.

Thanks For the Assistance
The Pirates have dished out 340 assists this season to average 14.2 per game which ranks fourth in Conference USA. Junior guard Janesha Ebron is the team-leader with 120 helpers on the year to average 5.0 per game which ranks her fifth in the conference. She also leads C-USA with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.1.

Cleaning Up The Glass
The Pirates have accumulated 1,053 rebounds to average 43.9 per game to rank second in Conference USA. In holding their opponents to 35.9 rebounds per game, the Pirates own a rebounding margin of +8.0 which leads C-USA and is good for 24th in the nation. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne leads the team with 176 rebounds for an average of  7.3 boards per game.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Like their namesake, the Pirates are known for steals. ECU has grabbed 262 steals this season to average 10.9 per game which is tops in Conference USA and ranks 11th in the NCAA. The Pirates have forced their opponents into 20.0 turnovers per game and own a turnover margin of +1.0. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice leads the Pirates with 41 steals to average 1.7 per game to tie for 14th in the league.

Block Party
ECU has put up 128 blocks to average 5.3 per game which leads Conference USA statistics and is good for 18th in the nation. The Pirates have limited their opponents to 3.4 blocks per game on the year. Junior post Ondrea Shaw leads the team with 78 blocks for an average of 3.3 blocks per game which leads the conference and ranks her 10th in the NCAA. With 78 blocks, Shaw is ranked third in the ECU single-season record book.

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 continues its Texas road swing as the Pirates take on UTEP in El Paso on Saturday, February 22. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. ET. Live stats and video will be available on ECUPirates.com.