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ECU Hosts UAB in Play 4 Kay Game on Thursday

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Go Tigers!
Shala Hodges
Go Tigers!

Feb. 27, 2013

Game 27: UAB at East Carolina
Date Thursday, February 28
Time 7 p.m. (ET)
Location Greenville, N.C. | Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum
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The Game: UAB at ECU
East Carolina welcomes UAB to Minges Coliseum for a Thursday night conference match-up. The contest will take place on February 28, at 7:05 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness for the Pirates' annual Play 4 Kay game in conjunction with the "Pack the House Challenge."

The Series
The Pirates and Blazers will meet for the 24th time in program history and ECU leads the all-time series 13-10. Earlier this season, UAB held off East Carolina in a four-point game, 62-58, in Birmingham, Ala. The Pirates' last win over the Blazers came on March 3, 2011, at the Bartow Arena when ECU edged UAB, 56-55.

Last Time Out
The Pirates return to Minges Coliseum after collecting their 19th win of the season with a 56-41 victory at UCF last Sunday. In that contest, Whitny Edwards and Kyani White scored in double figures as Whitny Edwards led the Pirates in scoring as she tallied 13 points and added six rebounds while posting four assists and three steals. White posted a 10-point performance while contributing four boards, three assists and one steal. Tatiana Chapple and Britny Edwards each posted eight points in the contest, while Ariana Jackson led the squad with seven rebounds off the bench. Celeste Stewart added a team-leading five assists to go along with six points, three rebounds, and two steals. Despite a slow start, the Pirates managed to turn a seven-point deficit (20-13) at 4:59 in the first half into a four-point advantage (24-20) at halftime. The Pirates used an offense surge in the second half to lead by as many as 19 points (56-37) after shooting nearly 50-percent in the frame. The Pirates went on to defeat the Knights by a score of 56-41, tying the fewest amount of points allowed by the ECU defense in conference action this season.

About the Pirates
East Carolina owns a 19-7 overall record and a 9-4 conference mark to tie for second in Conference USA standings. The Pirates' 19 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. East Carolina's nine conference victories ties the most for a Pirate team during Coach Macy's tenure. ECU is 12-1 when playing at Minges Coliseum, which is the best conference record at a home facility this season. ECU is averaging 64.6 points per game this year, while limiting their opponents to 54.6 to lead the conference, for a scoring margin of +10.0, which is a league best. The ECU defense has been solid this season as it is forcing 21.6 turnovers per game, while collecting 12.2 steals per contest, which is good for 10th in the nation. The Pirates have three double-figure scorers in Whitny Edwards (11.9 points per game), Celeste Stewart (11.5 ppg), and Britny Edwards (10.2 ppg). Britny Edwards is also the squad's rebounding leader as she has collected 218 boards to average 8.4 per contest. She also leads the team in blocks with 31, 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 44 steals and 50 assists. In addition to being the team's second leading scorer, Stewart is the team leader in assists with 104. The senior point guard has been a major contributer as she has also posted 75 rebounds and 40 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 8.9 points per game and has collected 52 rebounds and 17 steals. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has grabbed 59 steals to lead the Pirates and average 2.3 steals per game. White has also added 6.3 points per game, 84 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Scouting The Blazers
UAB will enter the contest against ECU with a 16-10 overall record and a 7-6 C-USA ledger which puts the Blazers in a fourth-place tie with Memphis and UTEP in league standings. As a team, UAB is averaging 62.1 points per game and holding their opponents to 55.2, which is second in the league only to ECU. The UAB defense is on point as it forces 20.6 turnovers per game and collects 11.9 steals per contest, both statistics rank second in the conference to ECU. The Blazers are led offensively by Amber Jones (13.4 points per game), Ashley Grimes (12.9 ppg), and Karisma Chapman (12.4 ppg). Chapman is also the team leader in rebounds per game (7.0) and steals (81). Khalilah Watson owns 78 assists to lead the Blazers and also contributes 4.3 rebounds per game to go along with 56 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 47-41 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 162-80 career record and is 98-46 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.

UAB: Audra Smith (Virginia, 1992) is in her eighth season as the head coach of the UAB women's basketball team and has accumulated a 135-25 career record. Under her direction, the Blazers are in the midst of their fourth straight winning season and the program's best two-year stretch in a decade. Smith's team capped a 20-win season in 2010-11 with the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) championship and followed that with a 19-11 campaign last season. The WBI championship in 2011 was the first-ever postseason title for the UAB women's basketball team, which won its first three tournament games on the road before defeating Cal State Bakersfield in Birmingham, Ala., in the title game. The victory in the finals secured the Blazers' first 20-win season since the 2000-01 campaign. With Smith at the helm, UAB has made two postseason appearances, the first came in 2006-07 as she led her squad to the second round of the WNIT.

On This Date in ECU Women's Basketball History
The East Carolina women's basketball team has played in 11 contests on February 28th since the program's inception. The first game that took place on that date was in 1975 when the Pirates dropped an 83-73 overtime victory to Wake Forest. Since then, the Pirates have recorded a 5-6 record on February 28th, with their last contest taking place in 2009 against Houston. In that game, the Cougars edged the Pirates, 66-65, at Minges Coliseum.

The National Spotlight
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the Top 50 in seven categories in NCAA Division I statistics. The Pirates are in 10th in steals per game (12.2), 13th in three-point field goal percent defense (25.7), 19th in turnover margin (5.5), 39th in scoring defense (54.6), 44th in assists per game (15.3), 46th in scoring margin (+10.0), and 49th in field goal percent defefnse (36.0). The NCAA ranks the top 250 student-athletes and four Pirates rank in six categories. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White ranks 50th in assists to turnover ratio (1.82) and 134th in steals per game (2.27). Senior Celeste Stewart ranks 110th in assist to turnover ratio (1.42) and 122nd in assists per game (4.0), while redshirt senior Britny Edwards ranks 115th in rebounds per game (8.4) and 176th in blocked shots per game (1.19). Whitny Edwards ranks 182nd in three-point field goals per game as she averages 1.77.

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 338 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 475-318. 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 376 rebounds as Britny has collected a team-leading 218 and Whitny has added 158. Britny is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game which ranks her seventh in the conference. Additionally, she is sixth in defensive rebounds per game (5.3) and tied for eighth in offensive rebounds per game (3.0) in C-USA. This season, Britny Edwards has recorded a pair of 15-plus rebound games, while earlier this month, 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 64.6 points per game to 54.6 to boast a scoring margin of +10.0, which leads the conference and ranks in the top 50 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 11.9 points per game. Stewart is right behind her as she averages 11.5 points per game, while Britny Edwards is averaging 10.2 points per game.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 59 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 ninth place in Conference USA in steals per contest.

Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart has dished out a team-leading 104 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 338 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 84 assists on the year and she is second in C-USA in assist to turnover ratio (1.8).

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 five categories. East Carolina has set the standard in scoring defense (54.6), scoring margin (+10.0), three-point field goal percent defense (.257), steals per game (12.2), 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 is second in the conference in assist to turnover ratio (1.8) and is tied for ninth in steals per game (2.3). Redshirt senior Britny Edwards is fifth in field goal percentage (.493), sixth in defensive rebounds (5.3), seventh in rebounds per game (8.4), eighth in blocked shots per game (1.2), and tied for eighth in offensive rebounds per game (3.0). Senior Celeste Stewart is in fifth in assists per game (4.0), fifth in assist to turnover ratio (1.4), and in 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.327). Redshirt senior Whitny Edwards is in sixth place in the conference in three-point field goals made per game as she averages 1.8.

Coming Up...
The Pirates play in their last regular-season home game on Sunday, March 3, when they host Memphis. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. The two teams squared off earlier this season and the Tigers were victorious over the Pirates, 66-56, at Elma Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis, Tenn. The Pirates are looking for their first win over the Tigers since March 9, 2010, when ECU defeated Memphis, 73-66, at the C-USA Conference Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. Live stats, video, and a live internet broadcast will be available on ECUPirates.com.