Lady Pirates Host Memphis on Senior Day

UABSPORTS.COM Celeste Stewart
Celeste Stewart

March 2, 2013

Game 28: Memphis at East Carolina
Date Sunday, March 3
Time 1 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 will play its last-regular season game at Minges Coliseum on Sunday, March 3, when it hosts Memphis. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m., The contest is also Senior Day as Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards, Shala Hodges, and Celeste Stewart will be honored before the start of the contest.

The Game: Memphis at ECU
East Carolina welcomes Memphis to Minges Coliseum for the last regular-season home game of the season. The Pirates and Tigers will face off on Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m. The contest is also Senior Day as Celeste Stewart, Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards, and Shala Hodges will be honored before the game.

The Series
The Pirates and Tigers will meet for the 22th time in program history and Memphis holds a slight edge on ECU as the Tigers lead the all-time series 11-10. Earlier this season, East Carolina dropped a 66-56 decision to Memphis at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse on January 17. The Pirates are looking for their first victory over the Tigers since March 9, 2010, when they defeated Memphis, 73-66, during the Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.

Last Time Out
The Pirates edged UAB on Thursday to collect their 20th win of the season. In that game, Celeste Stewart hit a key three-pointer with 1:13 left in the game to break a 48-48 tie and give East Carolina its final lead of the game. She finished the contest with 14 points, a game-high seven assists, and three rebounds. Whitny Edwards also led the Pirates in scoring with 14 points, while adding four boards, and two steals. Tatiana Chapple tied her season-high with seven rebounds and also contributed six points, and tied her career-high with five assists. Kristine Mial came off the bench and tallied nine points, while Kyani White and Janesha Ebron each added three steals. White also posted five points, three boards and as many assists. The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw five ties and six lead changes and culminated in the Pirates earning their 20th win of the year and improving to 13-1 at Minges Coliseum.

About the Pirates
East Carolina owns a 20-7 overall record and a 10-4 conference mark to tie for second in Conference USA standings. ECU is averaging 64.2 points per game this year, while limiting their opponents to 54.5 to lead the conference, for a scoring margin of +9.7, which is a league best. The ECU defense has been solid this season as it is forcing 21.3 turnovers per game, while collecting 12.1 steals per contest, which is good for 11th in the nation. The Pirates have a pair of double-figure scorers in Whitny Edwards (12.0 points per game) and Celeste Stewart (11.6 ppg). Britny Edwards averages 9.9 points per game and is also the squad's rebounding leader as she has collected 223 boards to average 8.3 per contest. She also leads the team in blocks with 33, along with 48.3-percent shooting. Whitny Edwards has been consistent for the Pirates all season as she averages 6.0 rebounds per game, and has added 46 steals and 50 assists. In addition to being the team's second leading scorer, Stewart is the team leader in assists with 111. The senior point guard has been a major contributer as she has also posted 78 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 54 rebounds and 17 steals. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has grabbed 62 steals to lead the Pirates and average 2.3 steals per game. White has also added 6.3 points per game, 87 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Scouting The Tigers
Memphis enters Minges Coliseum with a 16-12 overall record and a 7-7 conference ledger to rank them in a four-way tie for third place with UTEP, UAB, and Tulsa. Memphis is coming off of a 79-68 loss at Tulsa on Thursday and is looking to get back on the winning track. The Tigers are averaging 69.9 points per game to lead the conference, while allowing 66.8 points per game. As a team, Memphis is shooting 41.6-percent, which also leads the conference. The offensively charged Tigers are led by Nicole Dickson, the conference's leading scorer, who averages 19.4 points per game. She also leads the Tigers in rebounds per game (7.3) and steals (50). Ariel Hearn averages 13.6 points per game and has added 4.9 rebounds per contest to go along with a team-high 99 assists and 43 steals. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir also adds to the offense as she averages 10.8 points per game and has contributed 3.3 boards per game, as well as 50 assists and 45 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 48-41 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 163-80 career record and is 99-46 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.

Memphis: Melissa McFerrin (Missouri, 1983) is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Memphis women's basketball program and in just two seasons into her hiring has taken a team that went 10-20 in 2007-08 to a 20-win season and the Tigers' first post-season tournament appearance since the 2003-04 season. En route to leading the Tigers to their post-season bid, McFerrin's squad accomplished a number of firsts during the regular season as they swept three East Division C-USA foes for the first time since the league went to East/West divisions, and helped a trio of Tigers earn post-season honors. Memphis, which was tied for second in the C-USA Championships, eventually accepted a post-season tournament bid into the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) field, defeating UMKC, Wichita State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to advance to the championship game at Appalachian State. McFerrin came to Memphis after serving as the head coach at American University and the University of Minnesota.

Home Sweet Home
ECU is 13-1 when playing at Minges Coliseum, which ties the most wins at home in program history. The only other Pirate squad to win 13 games at home was the 1979-80 team which finished the year with a 21-10 overall record and made an appearance in the NCAIAW Tournament.

"Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner"
The Pirates' 20 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 10 conference victories is just one win shy of tying the most C-USA wins for a Pirate program.

On This Date in ECU Women's Basketball History
The East Carolina women's basketball team has played in 17 contests on March 3rd since the program's inception. The first game that took place on that date was in 1972 when the Pirates dropped a 49-46 decision to High Point. Since then, the Pirates have recorded an 11-6 record on March 3rd, with their last contest taking place in 2011 at UAB. In that game, the Pirates edged the Blazers, 56-55.

The National Spotlight
As a team, East Carolina ranks in the Top 50 in eight categories in NCAA Division I statistics. The Pirates are in 11th in steals per game (12.1), 14th in three-point field goal percent defense (25.4), 19th in turnover margin (5.26), 37th in scoring defense (54.5), 42nd in assists per game (15.4), 48th in scoring margin (+9.7), 48th in assists to turnover ratio (5.26), and 50th in win/loss percentage (74.1). The NCAA ranks the top 250 student-athletes and four Pirates rank in six categories. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White ranks 62nd in assists to turnover ratio (1.78), 171st in steals per game (2.3), and 250th in assists per game (3.2). Senior Celeste Stewart ranks 100th in assist to turnover ratio (1.46) and 108th in assists per game (4.1), while redshirt senior Britny Edwards ranks 125th in rebounds per game (8.3) and 167th in blocked shots per game (1.22). Whitny Edwards ranks 171st in three-point field goals per game as she averages 1.81.

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 in sixth place with 78 career blocks, while Celeste Stewart sits in eighth with 345 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 487-318. 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 385 rebounds as Britny has collected a team-leading 223 and Whitny has added 162. Britny is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game which ranks her seventh in the conference. Additionally, she is seventh in defensive rebounds per game (5.3) and in ninth in offensive rebounds per game (2.9) in C-USA.

Getting Offensive
This season, the Pirates are outscoring their opponents 64.2 points per game to 54.5 to boast a scoring margin of +9.7, 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 12.0 points per game. Stewart is right behind her as she averages 11.6 points per game, while Britny Edwards is averaging 9.9 points per game.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Sophomore guard Kyani White has collected 62 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 in ninth place in Conference USA in steals per contest.

Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart has dished out a team-leading 111 assists this season to average 4.1 assists per game which is good for a fourth-place in Conference USA statistics. She is currently in eighth place in the ECU career record books with 345 in her career. Stewart is fifth in the conference in assists to turnover ratio with a mark of 1.5. Redshirt sophomore Kyani White has amassed 87 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 33 blocks to average 1.2 blocks per game which tied her for seventh in C-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 in sixth on the all-time blocks list with a total of 78.

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 (54.5), scoring margin (+9.7), three-point field goal percent defense (.254), steals per game (12.1), and turnover margin (+5.3). 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. Kyani White is second in the league in assist to turnover ratio (1.8) and is in ninth in steals per game (2.3). Britny Edwards is fifth in field goal percentage (.483), seventh in rebounds per game (8.3), seventh in defensive rebounds (5.3), tied for seventh in blocked shots (1.2), and ninth in offensive rebounds (2.9). Celeste Stewart is tied for fourth in assists per game (4.1), fifth in assist to turnover ratio (1.5), and tied for eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.333). Whitny Edwards is in sixth in three-point field goals made per game as she averages 1.8.

Coming Up...
The Pirates play in their last regular-season game on Thursday, March 7, at Southern Miss. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The last time the two teams met, ECU rolled over the Golden Eagles, 82-60, at Minges Coliseum on February 17.