Senior Guard Celeste Stewart
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Third year head coach Heather Macy and her team of 11 returners and six newcomers hit the court at Minges Coliseum Monday afternoon for the first official practice of the 2012-13 season.
Macy and her coaching staff of Ollin Dunford, Jill Poe, and Rachel Stockdale held a mid-day practice in which the Pirates ran drills and got a chance to see how their players interacted with one another on the court. The team, which compiled a 12-19 overall record and a 5-11 conference mark last season, looked solid as they were led by four seniors in Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards, Shala Hodges, and Celeste Stewart.
In addition to the senior leadership, the Pirates will have five juniors, six sophomores and a pair of freshman to round out the squad. Returning to Williams Arena in Minges Coliseum are top scorers in junior Kristine Mial, Hodges and Britny Edwards. The trio combined for 726 points last year and averaged 23.4 points per game.
East Carolina will welcome four transfers to Greenville, N.C., in junior Shawnda Robinson, sophomore Elise Shelton along with junior Abria Trice and sophomore Jada Payne who will redshirt this season. Also new to the Pirates squad are a pair of freshman in Colleen Marshall and Chanel Green.
With the departure of Chareya Smith, Hodges is the leading returning scorer as she averaged 10.4 points per game last season. The senior guard played in 23 of 31 games last season and started in 12, averaging 20.3 minutes and accumulating 240 points on the year. She shot 34-percent from beyond the arc to lead the Pirates.
Mial, a forward out of Springfield, Va., will see significant playing time after starting in 27 games last year and recording 271 points to average 8.7 points per game. The 5-foot-9 junior also contributed 126 rebounds and a team-high 56 steals.
Britny Edwards is the Pirates leading defender as she led the team with 218 rebounds a year ago, looks to be another major contributor to the team. Last year she averaged a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game, and tallied 215 points to average 6.9 points per game. Furthermore, she totaled a team-leading 45 blocks and added 37 steals.
Senior guard Celeste Stewart, the only Pirate to start in all 31 games last year, will be back in Purple and Gold this season. Stewart finished her junior year with 178 points, a team-best 106 assists, 87 boards and 50 steals on the year.
Sophomore forward Tatiana Chapple will be back on the court after starting in 30-of-31 games last season. The Columbus, Ohio, native finished her freshman campaign with 151 points, 175 rebounds, 36 steals and 33 assists.
Sophomore transfer Elise Shelton, who stands at 6-foot-4, will play center for the Pirates this season. The Phoenix, Ariz., native comes to Greenville, N.C., from Phoenix College where she averaged a double-double with 14.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. Shelton also led the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) in rebounding and blocked shots.
Freshmen Colleen Marshall and Chanel Green should compete for playing time this season as the pair bring speed, accuracy and ability to the already talent-filled Pirates. Marshall was a three-star recruit according to ESPN Hoopgurlz and was ranked among the nation's top 150 point guards. She was a starter and captain for Gaithersburg High School in Maryland where she led her squad to back-to-back Class AAAA state championships and 52 consecutive victories to close out her prep career. Green, a speedy freshman guard from Washington, D.C., was also rated a three-sport star prospect by ESPN Hoopgurlz and was the 72nd-best point guard in the class of 2012. She helped Woodson High School to four consecutive D.C. interscholastic Athletic Association titles and a pair of Washington, D.C. city championships.
East Carolina will kick off the 2012-13 season with a road contest at William & Mary on Friday, Nov. 9, in Williamburg, Va. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. The Pirates' first home game will take place Sunday, Nov. 11, against St. Andrews at 5 p.m. at Minges Coliseum.