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Women's Hoops Looks to Bounce Back at UCF

Go Tigers! Elise Shelton
Go Tigers!
Elise Shelton
Go Tigers!

Feb. 23, 2013

Game 26: East Carolina at UCF
Date Sunday, February 24
Time 2 p.m. (ET)
Location Orlando, Fla. | UCF Arena
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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Lady Pirate basketball team is looking to rebound back from a loss at Marshall when they take on UCF on Sunday, February 24, in Orlando, Fla. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.

The Game: ECU at UCF
East Carolina travels to Orlando, Fla., for a Sunday afternoon Conference USA match-up at UCF on February 24. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. The Pirates own an 18-7 overall record and are in a second place tie with Tulane in C-USA with an 8-4 league mark. The Knights are 11-15 on the year and 5-7 in conference play.

The Series
The Pirates and Knights will face off for the 16th time in program history and ECU leads the all-time series 10-5. In their last meeting earlier this month, East Carolina defeated UCF, 59-48, at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.

Last Time Out
The Pirates are looking to bounce back from a 72-60 loss at Marshall in which ECU was limited to just 33.8-percent shooting in the contest, while Marshall shot 40-percent from the field. The Herd collected 12 points off of turnovers, while the Pirates had just four, despite forcing Marshall into 12 turnovers. Celeste Stewart was the Pirates’ only double-figure scorer as she notched 13 points, two assists, two steals and one rebound in the game. The double-figure affair marked her 12th in 13 games. Ariana Jackson contributed nine points off the bench while adding five boards with one block. Britny Edwards led ECU with eight rebounds, while recording as many points and one block. Kyani White led the squad with four assists and posted two points, a pair of rebounds, and two steals in the setback.

About the Pirates
East Carolina owns an 18-7 overall record and an 8-4 conference mark. The Pirates’ 18 wins are the most under head coach Heather Macy and the most since the 2009-10 season in which East Carolina made an appearance in the WNIT. ECU is averaging 65.0 points per game this season, while limiting their opponents to 55.2 to lead the conference, for a scoring margin of +9.8, which is a league best. The ECU defense has been solid this season as it is forcing 21.4 turnovers per game, while collecting 12.2 steals per contest, which is good for 15th in the nation. The Pirates have three double-figure scorers in Whitny Edwards (11.8 points per game), Celeste Stewart (11.7 ppg), and  Britny Edwards (10.2 ppg). Britny Edwards is also the squad’s rebounding leader as she has collected 215 boards to average 8.6 per contest. She also leads the team in blocks with 33, along with 49.3-percent shooting. Whitny Edwards has been consistent for the Pirates all season as she averages 6.1 rebounds per game, and has added 41 steals and 46 assists. In addition to being the team’s second leading scorer, Stewart is the team leader in assists with 99. The senior point guard has been a major contributer as she has also posted 72 rebounds and 38 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 9.5 points per game and has collected 52 rebounds and 16 steals. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has grabbed 58 steals to lead the Pirates and average 2.3 steals per game. White has also added 6.2 points per game, 81 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Scouting The Knights
UCF enters the game against East Carolina with an overall record of 11-15 and is 5-7 in C-USA action. The Knights are looking to get back on the winning track after dropping a 66-49 decision at Rice on Thursday. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak in which the Knights defeated Marshall (67-52), Memphis (83-62), Southern Miss ( 75-62), and UTEP in overtime (76-69). UCF is averaging 59.6 points per game while allowing 61.5 for a scoring margin of -1.9. The Knights are shooting 35.3-percent from the field and to their counterparts’ 39.4-percent. Freshman guard Briahanna Jackson is the Knights’ scoring leader as she averages 14.6 points per game. Jackson also averages 5.4 rebounds per game to go along with 50 assists and a team-leading 88 steals. Senior guard Gevenia Carter is averaging 14.5 points per game, 3.1 boards per game, 77 assists and 71 steals, while junior Erika Jones, who plays both forward and center, leads the squad with 8.4 rebounds per game, a team-best 23 blocks and a 46.6 shooting percentage. Additionally, Jones averages 8.0 points per game and 25 steals.

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 46-41 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 161-80 career record and is 97-46 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.

UCF: Joi Williams (USF, 1988) is in her sixth season as the head coach of the UCF women’s basketball program in which she has led the Knights to the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Tournament after her squad claimed the Conference USA Championship in those years. In 2011, Williams helped the Knights to their most successful season in nearly three decades as she led UCF to a 22-11 record and claimed the program’s second C-USA title with a 12-point win over defending champion Tulane in the final. During that season, her team compiled an 11-game winning streak, which along with the 20-plus win season were the first by the program in 27 seasons. Williams came to UCF after four seasons as the head coach at Murray State where she led the Racers to a WNIT berth and the program’s first 20-win season in 18 years.

On This Date in ECU Women’s Basketball History
The East Carolina women’s basketball team has played in 12 contests on February 24th since the program’s inception. The first game that took place on that date was in 1977 when the Pirates edged UNC Greensboro, 73-71. Since then, the Pirates have recorded an 8-4 record on February 24th, with their last contest taking place in 2011 against Tulsa. In that game, the Pirates defeated the Golden Hurricane, 65-55, in Greenville, N.C.

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 15th in steals per game (12.2), 17th in three-point field goal percent defense (25.9), 18th in turnover margin (5.4), 47th in assists per game (15.4), 48th in scoring defense (55.2), and 50th in scoring margin (+9.8). The NCAA ranks the top 250 student-athletes and four Pirates rank in six categories. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White ranks 37th in assists to turnover ratio (1.98), 125th in steals per game (2.32), and 248th in assists per game (3.2). Senior Celeste Stewart ranks 109th in assist to turnover ratio (1.43) and 132nd in assists per game (4.0), while redshirt senior Britny Edwards ranks 97th in rebounds per game (8.6) and 164th in blocked shots per game (1.24). Whitny Edwards ranks 200th in three-point field goals per game as she averages 1.72.

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 tied for sixth in career blocks with 76, while Celeste Stewart sits in eighth with 333 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 464-311. 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 38 points against Southern Miss on February 17th, while the Golden Eagles’ bench was limited to just 10 points. In that contest, ECU defeated Southern Miss, 82-60.

Cleaning up the Glass
Whitny Edwards and Britny Edwards have been doing their duty at the glass this season. The twins have totaled 369 rebounds as Britny has collected a team-leading 215 and Whitny has added 152. Britny is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game which ranks her fifth in the conference. Additionally, she is fifth in defensive rebounds per game (5.4) and seventh in offensive rebounds per game (3.2) in C-USA. This season, Britny Edwards has recorded a pair of 15-plus rebound games, while on 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 65.2 points per game to 54.5 to boast a scoring margin of +10.7, which leads the conference and ranks 10th in the nation. 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 12.2 points per game. Stewart is right behind her as she averages 11.6 points per game, while Britny Edwards is averaging 10.3 points per game.  

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 58 steals to average 2.3 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 tenth place in Conference USA in steals per contest.

Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart has dished out a team-leading 99 assists this season to average 4.0 assists per game which is good for fifth-place in Conference USA statistics. She is currently in eighth place in the ECU career record books with 333 in her career. Stewart is fifth in the conference in assists to turnover ratio with a mark of 1.4. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has amassed 81 assists on the year and she is second in C-USA in assist to turnover ratio (2.0).

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 31 blocks to average 1.2 blocks per game which ranks her eighth 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 tied for sixth on the all-time blocks list with a total of 76.

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 (55.2), scoring margin (+9.8), steals per game (12.2), and turnover margin (+5.4). 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 is second in the conference in assist to turnover ratio (2.0) and is tied for tenth in steals per game (2.3). Redshirt senior Britny Edwards is fifth in defensive rebounds per game (5.4), fifth in field-goal percentage (.493), fifth in rebounds per game (8.6), seventh in offensive rebounds per game (3.2), and eighth in blocked shots per game (1.2). Senior Celeste Stewart is in fifth in assists per game (4.0), fifth in assist to turnover ratio (1.4), and tied for eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.333). Redshirt senior Whitny Edwards is in sixth place in the conference in three-point field goals made per game as she averages 1.7.

Coming Up...
The Pirates return to Minges Coliseum on Thursday, February 28, to host UAB in the Play 4 Kay game. The contest also marks ECU’s annual “Pack the House Challenge.” Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m., as the game will be televised by CBS College Sports. Live stats, video and an internet broadcast will also be available on ECUPirates.com.