East Carolina Closes Out Regular Season at Old Dominion

UABSPORTS.COM Shae Nelson
UABSPORTS.COM
Shae Nelson
UABSPORTS.COM

March 5, 2014

Game 29: East Carolina at Old Dominion
Date Wednesday, March 5
Time 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Location Norfolk, Va.
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The Game
The East Carolina women's basketball team closes out the regular season in Norfolk, Va., against Old Dominion on Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m.

The Series
The Pirates and the Monarchs will meet for the 52nd time in program history. Old Dominion leads the all-time series 42-9. In their most recent meeting, the Pirates edged the Monarchs, 64-63, at Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum on January 30, 2014, to snap a 28-game losing streak to Old Dominion. Prior to that contest, East Carolina had not been victorious over ODU since 1992.

Last Time Out
Senior forward Kristine Mial poured in 17 points in East Carolina's 78-69 victory over Tulsa on Senior Night last Saturday. The Pirates' win snapped a three-game losing skid as they improved to 22-6 overal and 10-5 in C-USA action. Mial and J'Kyra Brown tied for the team lead with 17 points each in the contest. Mial tallied her 17 points on 6-of-12 field goals and 5-of-8 three-pointers, while Brown was 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. Senior Carly Vendemia finished the game with nine points, three rebounds and one block. Shae Nelson recorded double-figures as she notched 12 points in the win and Jada Payne was the Pirates' leading rebounder with 10. Ondrea Shaw led the ECU defense with a game-high five blocks and six rebounds, five of which were defensive. Shaw has collected 92 blocks on the year and is just three shy of tying the ECU single-season record. The Pirates converted 26-of-66 field goals en route to shooting 39.4-percent. They also out-rebounded the Golden Hurricane, 45-37, and grabbed 20 assists to Tulsa's seven. The Pirates also held the advantage in blocks, 6-2, as well as steals, 10-6. East Carolina closed the first half on a 10-2 run sparked by a Mial trey as the Pirates owned a 37-30 lead at halftime. Tulsa managed to tie the game in the second half, but ECU went on a 16-3 run to take a 14-point advantage (59-45) and never look back. East Carolina led by as many as 18 (73-55) in the game and went on to claim a 78-69 win over Tulsa.

About the Pirates
East Carolina snapped a three-game losing skid with a 78-69 victory over Tulsa last Saturday. The Pirates have compiled a 22-6 overall record and a 10-5 mark in Conference USA. The Pirates own a scoring offense of 72.4 points per game and their defense limits opponents to 61.5 points per game which ranks second in the conference. ECU is a defensively strong team that limits teams to 35.7-percent shooting from the field which leads the conference and ranks 19th in the NCAA. The Pirates' three-point field goal percent defense of 25.8 also leads the league and is good for fifth in the nation. The Pirates average 5.4 blocked shots per game which is good for first in C-USA and 14h in the NCAA. ECU's steals per game average of 10.8 ranks second in the league and is ninth in the nation. ECU is led offensively by redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne who averages 18.9 points per game to rank sixth in the league. She also leads the Pirates in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game for ninth place in the conference. Payne has contributed 48 assists, 39 steals, and five blocks on the year. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice is the team's second leading scorer with 15.2 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds per game, a team-best 48 steals, 37 assists and 16 blocks. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw leads East Carolina with 92 blocks to average 3.3 per game which leads C-USA and ranks eighth in the nation. Shaw also adds 7.0 rebounds per game, which is tied for 14th in the league, 3.2 points per game, 31 steals and 15 assists.

Scouting the Monarchs
Old Dominion enters the game against East Carolina on a four-game winning streak as the Monarchs have not lost a game since February 15, when they fell to UTEP, 65-55, in Norfolk, Va. Old Dominion owns a 15-14 overall record and is 8-7 in Conference USA action. The Monarchs have put together a 9-4 record while playing at home. As a team, ODU is shooting 40.4-percent from the field and averaging 67.7 points per game, while holding its opponents to 64.8 points per game. The Monarchs hold the advantage in rebounding as they average 40.8 boards per game and hold their counterparts to 38.9 for a +1.9 rebounding margin. ODU also hold the edge in assists per game (13.6 - 12.8), steals per game (8.5 - 7.1), and blocks per game (3.2 - 2.9) over its opponents. Shae Kelley is the Monarch's leading scorer as she averages 17.6 points per game as ODU's only double-figure performer. Kelley also leads the squad in rebounding with 10.1 boards per game to average a double-double. The junior forward owns a team-best 59 steals as well as leads Old Dominion in blocks with 37 on the year. Galaisha Goodhope is a sophomore guard who leads the Monarchs in assists with 101, while adding 8.3 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, 48 steals and a pair of blocks.

Home Sweet Home
Despite seeing their 26-game winning streak snapped after a 70-59 loss to No. 23/25 Middle Tennessee last Wednesday night, the Pirates closed out the regular-season with a 14-1 when playing at Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum this year. In two seasons, East Carolina has compiled a 28-2 record in Greenville, N.C. for a winning percentage of 93.3-percent.

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), ninth in steals per game (11.0), 16th in blocked shots per game (5.4), 17th in field goal percent defense (35.4), 24th in rebounding margin (+8.0), 25th in win-loss percentage (80.8), 31st in scoring margin (+11.9), 42nd in free throw percentage (73.8), and 48th in scoring defense (60.8).

20/20
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 seasons 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.

Pouring In The Points
The Pirates have a three double-figure scorers in redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne, redshirt junior guard Abria Trice, and junior forward Shae Nelson. Payne leads the Pirates with 19.3 points per game, while Trice averages 15.5, and Nelson owns 10.4. Payne's and Trice's averages rank sixth and 10th, respectively, in the conference. As a team, ECU owns a scoring offense of 72.2 to rank fourth in the league, while the Pirates limit their opponents to 61.2 points per game for a scoring margin of +11.0 which ranks 31st in the nation.

Getting Defensive
A defensively strong team, East Carolina has limited its opponents to 61.2 points per game, while averaging 72.2 points per game for a scoring margin of +11.0. The Pirates' scoring defense ranks second in the conference and their scoring margin is good for fourth. The marks are also ranked 31st (scoring margin) and 48th (scoring defense) in the NCAA, respectively. Additionally, the Pirates have collected 293 steals to average 10.9 per game to lead the league and place ninth in the nation. ECU has also forced their counterparts into 536 turnovers to average 19.9 per game. The Pirates have put up 145 blocks to average 5.4 per game which leads the league and ranks 16th in the nation.

Thanks For the Assistance
The Pirates have dished out 372 assists this season to average 13.8 per game which ranks fourth in Conference USA. Junior guard Janesha Ebron is the team-leader with 136 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 1,181 rebounds to average 43.7 per game which ranks second in Conference USA. In holding their opponents to 36.1 rebounds per game, the Pirates own a rebounding margin of +7.6 which leads C-USA and is good for 31st in the nation. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne leads the team with 200 rebounds for an average of 7.4 boards per game.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Like their namesake, the Pirates are known for steals. ECU has grabbed 293 steals this season to average 10.9 per game which is tops in Conference USA and ranks ninth in the NCAA. The Pirates have forced their opponents into 19.9 turnovers per game and own a turnover margin of +0.6. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice leads the Pirates with 46 steals to average 1.78 per game to tie for 11th in the league.

Block Party
ECU has put up 145 blocks to average 5.4 per game which leads Conference USA statistics and is good for 16th 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 87 blocks for an average of 3.2 blocks per game which leads the conference and ranks her 10th in the NCAA. With 87 blocks, Shaw is ranked third in the ECU single-season record book and just eight blocks away from tying for first.

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.

Notables
• Senior post Ariana Jackson will be out for the season due to an injury.

Coming Up...
East Carolina will find out its seeding in the 2014 Conference USA Tournament on Friday, March 7. The C-USA Tournament begins Tuesday, March 11 in El Paso, Texas.