Women's Basketball Opens Season Against Virginia Intermont

UABSPORTS.COM Head Coach Heather Macy
Head Coach Heather Macy

Nov. 7, 2013

Date: Friday, November 8
Time: 12:00 noon
Location: Greenville, N.C.
Arena (Capacity): Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum (8,000)
ECU Game Notes
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Live Stats
The Series: East Carolina leads 1-0
Last Meeting: East Carolina defeated Virginia Intermont, 82-33 (11/17/11)

The Last Meeting
Virginia Intermont33
East Carolina82
November 17, 2011
Greenville, N.C.
Pirates Stifle Virginia Intermont, 82-33
East Carolina 82, Virginia Intermont 33 Get Acrobat Reader
East Carolina limited Virginia Intermont to seven points in the second half on its way to an 82-33 victory Thursday night at Minges Coliseum.

The Game
East Carolina opens the 2013-14 campaign against Virginia Intermont on Friday, November 8. Tip-off is set for 12 noon. The contest will be School Day as students from C.M. Epps Middle School and Elmhurst Elementary will be in attendance and ECU head football coach Ruffin McNeill and junior receiver Justin Hardy will speak to the kids at halftime.

The Series
The Pirates and the Cobras will meet for just the second time in program history. East Carolina leads the all-time series 1-0. In the only previous meeting between the two teams, ECU rolled past Virginia Intermont, 82-33, on November 17, 2011 in Greenville, N.C.

Season Review
East Carolina kicks off the season after finishing the 2012-13 campaign with a 22-10 (11-5 C-USA) record en route to a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament marking the first 20-win season and WNIT appearance since 2009-10. During the season, ECU set a new program record for home victories with a 14-1 mark inside Minges Coliseum. In addition, East Carolina collected 11 non-conference wins in the 2012-13 season, their most non-league victories in three seasons. In conference action, the Pirates also notched an 11-5 C-USA record which was the most victories for the program since joining the league in 2001-02. ECU’s impressive conference mark earned the Pirates’ a No. 2 seed in the C-USA Tournament, their highest-ever ranking in the program’s tournament history. Following the regular-season, head coach Heather Macy was named the C-USA Coach of the Year and Kristine Mial earned the C-USA Sixth Player of the Year award. Celeste Stewart collected All-First Team honors and Britny Edwards garnered All-Defensive Team accolades.

About the Pirates
Heather Macy, the reigning Conference USA Coach of the Year returns nine players from last year’s team that won 20 games and earned an appearance in the WNIT. Senior Kristine Mial, who garnered C-USA Sixth Player of the Year accolades leads a list of talented student-athletes who will don purple and gold in 2013-14. Mial finished the year averaging 9.7 points per game with 3.6 rebounds per game and 24 steals. Junior Janesha Ebron looks to be a major contributer for the Pirates this season as she concluded her sophomore season with 2.4 points per game 1.7 rebounds per game and 38 steals. Junior Tatiana Chapple and redshirt junior Kyani White were both starters for the Pirates last season. Chapple concluded last season as the team’s leader in field goal percentage as she shot .482. She also contributed 120 points (3.8 ppg) and 117 rebounds (3.7 rpg). White played point guard a year ago and finished the season with a team leading 72 steals which ranks her ninth in the ECU single-season record book. She also posted 207 points to average 6.5 points per game and 72 boards for an average of 2.3 rebounds per game. Abria Trice and Jada Payne both redshirted a year ago and will be key players on the court for ECU. Additionally, the Pirates welcome six newcomers to Greenville including four transfers and a pair of freshmen.

Scouting the Cobras
Virginia Intermont is led by head coach Jaclyn Dickens who has led the Cobras to a 1-0 record this season after finishing 2012-13 with a 14-17 mark. In their season opener last Friday, the Cobras tallied an 89-83 victory over Bluefield College behind a whopping 41 points from junior post Rainey Stormy. Stormy played in 31 minutes of action and added a team-best seven rebounds with one block and one assist. She currently leads the Cobras in points per game (41.0) and rebounds per game (7.0). Junior guard Nikita Jones came off the bench and dished out five assists and four steals for the Cobras in the win.

Head Coach Heather Macy
Head Coach Heather Macy (Greensboro College, 2000) enters her fourth year at the helm of the ECU women’s basketball program and holds a record of 50-44 as the Pirates’ leader. Overall, Macy owns a 165-83 career record and is 100-47 in conference action. Macy is coming off of a year in which she was named Conference USA Coach of the Year after guiding the Pirates to a 22-10 overall record and an 11-5 C-USA mark. 2012-13 marked the first time in three years ECU tallied a 20-win season and the Pirates’ 11 league victories were the most since joining C-USA in 2001-02. Macy was instrumental in helping her squad earn a No. 2 seed in the C-USA Tournament, their highest ever ranking in the league tournament. Since her hiring at ECU in 2010, Macy has led the Pirates to their fourth winning season in the last five years. Macy came to East Carolina 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 Sweet 16. 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.

Welcome To Pirate Nation
The Pirates welcome six newcomers to Greenville in freshman J’Kyra Brown, junior Akia Jones, junior Shae Nelson, junior Ondrea Shaw, freshman Jenka Stiasna, and redshirt senior Carly Vendemia. Brown is a guard out of Rocky Mount High School were she was the Gryphons’ all-time leading scorer with 1,655 points en route to being named the North Carolina Player of the Year. Jones comes to ECU from Walters State Community College where she totaled 287 points to average 9.9 points per game to go along with 114 rebounds (3.9 rpg). Last season, Nelson saw action at Northwest Florida State College and was ranked as the No. 25 junior college player in the country by Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. Shaw was a redshirt at George Mason last season and previous played at Coffeyville Community College (Kan.) where she set the team record and led the nation in blocked shots with 157. Stiasna is a freshman from Slovakia who has been in the U.S. for three years after having played high school basketball at Rock High School in Gainesville, Fla. At Rock HS, Stiasna averaged 9.2 points per contest and was ranked No. 72 in the state of Florida by Max Preps. Vendemia comes to ECU after graduating from Duquesne in the spring. After redshirting last season, Vendemia is ready to hit the hardwood after seeing action in all 32 games with six starts in 2011-12 in which she scored a career-high 16 points versus Dayton.

The National Spotlight
East Carolina earned national recognition a year ago as the Pirates ranked in the NCAA Top 50 in five different statistical categories. ECU grabbed a whopping 12.1 steals per game to rank eighth in the nation and first in Conference USA. Last season, the Pirates owned a turnover margin of +4.94 to earn a national ranking of 20th as well as a first-place spot in the conference. Additionally, East Carolina placed 43rd nationally in assists per game (15.3) and three-point field goal defense (27.6), while its 0.96 assists to turnover ratio was good for 48th.

Home Sweet Home
ECU closed out the 2012-13 season with an impressive 14-1 record when playing at Minges Coliseum. The Pirates captured their 14th home victory on March 3, 2013, against Memphis to mark the most wins at home in program history. Prior to this year’s squad’s 14 wins, the previous record of 13 victories was set at the end of the 1979-80 season in which the Lady Pirates finished the year with a 21-10 overall record and made an appearance in the NCAIAW Tournament.

Getting Defensive
A defensively strong team, ECU averaged 12.1 steals per game to rank eighth nationally last season. The Pirates also ranked 20th in the nation in turnover margin (+4.94) as they forced their counterparts into 666 turnovers to average 20.8 per game. Each season the Pirates have continued to lower their season average of points allowed per game as they finished the 2010-11 season allowing 68.9 points per game and dropped that average by 12.1 points per game to 56.8 in two years. Last season the Pirates held their opponents to less than 40 points on 10 separate occasions and limited North Carolina Central and Converse to just 28 and 23, points respectively.

Cleaning Up The Glass
With the loss of Britny Edwards, last season’s leading rebounder, the Pirates will look to fill the void with redshirt senior Ariana Jackson, junior Tatiana Chapple, and junior transfer Ondrea Shaw. The duo of Jackson and Chapple combined for 237 rebounds last season as Jackson tallied 120 (3.8 rpg) and Chapple added 117 (3.7 rpg). Shaw previously averaged 10.0 rebounds per game at Coffeyville Community College en route to being named Second Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region.

Pouring In The Points
The Pirates must fill the gaps left from losing their top three scorers from last season to graduation in Whitny Edwards, Celeste Stewart, and Britny Edwards. Senior Kristine Mial is ECU’s returning leading scorer as she came off the bench last season and notched 213 points for an average of 9.7 points per game. Mial was an instrumental part of the Pirates’ lineup as she went on to earn Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year honors for her efforts.

Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Like their namesake, the Pirates were known for steals last season. East Carolina racked up 388 steals, the most ever in a single season in program history. The Pirates averaged 12.1 steals per game to rank eighth in the NCAA and ranked first in Conference USA. Redshirt junior Kyani White led the squad with 72 swipes a year ago which tied for ninth in the ECU single-season record book.

Thanks For the Assistance
East Carolina finished the 2012-13 season with 488 assists thanks in part to former Pirate Celeste Stewart’s 132 helpers. The Pirates averaged 15.3 assists per game to rank second in Conference USA and 43rd in the nation. ECU also forced its opponents into 666 turnovers for an assists to turnover ratio of 0.96 to rank second in the league and 48th in the NCAA.

Block Party
Having lost Britny Edwards to graduation, junior Tatiana Chapple is the Pirates’ leading returner in blocks as she recorded 13 last season. As a team, East Carolina posted 101 total blocks to average 3.2 on the year. This season, the Pirates have added junior transfer Ondrea Shaw who set the Coffeyville Community College record and led the nation with 157 blocked shots to average 5.0 per game.

• After transferring from George Mason, junior post Ondrea Shaw has been cleared to play immediately
• With Shaw’s clearance, all 15 players on the ECU women’s basketball roster are eligible for action
• Head coach Heather Macy added assistant coach John Marcum to her staff over the summer
• Redshirt junior guard Kyani White has been suspended for one game for a violation of team policy

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.

Coming Up...
The Pirates will be back in action Sunday, November 10, when they play host to George Mason. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. Live stats and video will be available on ECUPirates.com. The contest is Fan Appreciation Day as all fans who bring their ticket stub from the East Carolina football game on Saturday, November 9, will receive $2.00 admission. Additionally, the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free ECU Pirates T-shirt.