Women's Basketball Kicks Off Preseason Practice
Oct. 5, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team officially took the floor for the beginning of preseason practice this week under the direction of second-year head coach Heather Macy.
For the second-straight season, the team will take advantage of NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52, which states that a women's basketball program may begin practice on the date that is 40 days prior to the date of the institution's first regular-season contest. During that span, ECU cannot engage in more than 30 days of countable athletically related activities prior to its first regular-season contest.
A total of eight newcomers have joined the program for the upcoming campaign, including transfers from Atlantic Coast Conference members. Three of those players - Britny Edwards (Virginia), Whitny Edwards (Virginia) and Bryelle Smith (Clemson) are eligible to play immediately as graduate students - while Kyani White (Virginia Tech) will sit out the season and join the squad next year as a redshirt sophomore.
Macy is also bringing in a talented crop of freshmen who helped make up the nation's 79th-ranked recruiting class as assessed by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. Janesha Ebron, rated the 61st-best point guard prospect by ESPN HoopGurlz, helped her South Central High School squad to the North Carolina 3A state title game as the Falcons captured the first championship in school history with a 61-58 overtime victory over Hickory. She scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the contest, earning the game's most valuable player accolades.
Forward Tatiana Chapple will also look to contribute immediately as she helped the Northland High School varsity squad to a record of 76-13 during her prep career. Chapple named to the All-City League North Division Second Team after her final campaign in which the Vikings reached the regional tournament after dispatching Gahanna in the district championship game.
Fellow rookies Dana Jones (Gulfport, Miss.) and Shante Boseman (Goldsboro, N.C.) are also working hard to ensure the team's success. Jones averaged 12.3 points per game as a senior at Gulfport High School, where she played an integral role in reviving the Lady Admiral program. Additionally, 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Second-Team All-America selection Kristine Mial, a versatile wing/forward combo player, will provided valuable experience on a team full of new faces.
As for this season's returners, junior guard Celeste Stewart and senior forward Chareya Smith have shown steep improvement during the summer in many facets of the game and will be integral pieces of this year's group. Stewart played in all 31 games during the 2010-11 campaign and made 21 starts - the fifth-most on the squad. She also produced the top assist to turnover ratio for ECU at 1.6 (76 assists/49 turnovers) which was the third-highest among Conference USA players.
Smith took part in all but two games last year and made 21 starts - among the highest five starting totals on the squad. She started the first nine games of the campaign as well as the final eight and was one of six Pirates to average double figures in minutes played. The Raleigh, N.C., native went on to score in double figures 10 times - including a career-high 22-point outburst against SMU on 10-for-14 shooting from the field.
East Carolina is scheduled to open the 2011-12 season Friday, Nov. 11, against College of Charleston at TD Arena.