Nov. 8, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina women's basketball team will kick off the 2012-13 season with a non-conference road contest at William & Mary on Friday, Nov. 9, at 5 p.m. The game will mark the 44th season opener for the Pirates.
The Pirates will enter Kaplan Arena on the campus of William & Mary after closing out 2011-12 with a 12-19 overall record and a 5-11 conference mark. ECU is looking to improve on those records this year and have welcomed six newcomers to the court and are returning 11 letterwinners from a year ago.
Pirates open the Season at William & Mary
East Carolina opens the 2012-13 season at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The Pirates are 21-22 in season openers and are looking to get back to .500 in their season debuts. ECU and the Tribe met once before to kick off the season, and the Pirates came out on top, 81-51, on November 17, 1979 in Greenville, N.C. This is the first time the Pirates will open the season in Williamsburg, Va.
The Pirates and Tribe will meet for the 43rd time in program history and for the second time to open the season. East Carolina leads the all-time series with William & Mary 31-11 and the Pirates hold a .738 winning percentage against the Tribe. This is the first meeting between the two squads since February 28, 2001 when the Pirates edged the Tribe, 59-56, in Williamsburg, Va. William & Mary has not defeated ECU since February 5, 1999, when the Tribe was victorious over the Pirates by 20 points (77-57) at Kaplan Arena.
The ECU Women's Basketball Program
East Carolina is coming off a season in which it went 12-19 overall and posted a 5-11 conference mark. The Pirates are looking to improve on those records this year and have welcomed six newcomers to the court and are returning 11 lettterwinners from a year ago. Head coach Heather Macy is optimistic that the Pirates will be competitors on the court and that the squad will make a run at a conference championship. ECU returns Shala Hodges who finished the season as the Pirates' second leading scorer with 10.4 points per game. Hodges, a senior guard, played in 23 games for East Carolina last year and finished the season with 240 points, 58 rebounds, 23 assists, and 29 steals. In addition to Hodges, the Pirates welcome back junior Kristine Mial. The forward out of Springfield, Va., concluded her sophomore campaign with 271 points, which ranked second on the squad, a team-leading 56 steals, 126 boards, 47 assists, and 28 blocks in all 31 games for the Pirates. Redshirt senior Britny Edwards saw action in all 31 of ECU's games last year and led the team with 218 rebounds to average a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-1 center also led the Pirates in blocks with 45, added 215 points, 37 steals and 21 assists. Senior Celeste Stewart is the only Pirate who started in all 31 games last season. A point guard out of Charlotte, N.C., Stewart led ECU in assists with 106. She also contributed 178 points, 87 rebounds, and 50 steals.
Scouting The Tribe
William & Mary finished the 2012-13 season with a 10-20 overall mark and was 3-15 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tribe's only three conference victories came against George Mason (76-66), Old Dominion (83-80), and at VCU (66-63). Senior forward Emily Correal will return to William & Mary after a season in which she averaged 13.2 points per game and was the Tribe's second leading scorer. Correal started in all 30 games for William & Mary last season and finished the year leading the team in points (297) and rebounds (259). She added 27 blocks, 26 assists, and 21 steals for the Tribe. Redshirt senior guard Janine Aldridge is also back in a Tribe uniform after she posted 390 points and averaged 13.0 points per game a year ago. Aldridge led the Tribe with 79 steals, and also contributed 122 boards and 81 assists. Senior Jaclyn McKenna, who stands at 6-foot-3, is the center for William & Mary. Last season, McKenna was second on the squad with 158 rebounds and led the Tribe with 28 blocks. She also recorded 304 points, 36 assists, and 23 steals.
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 28-34 as the Pirates leader. Overall, Macy owns a 143-73 overall record and is 89-42 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.
William & Mary: Debbie Taylor (William & Mary, 1986) begins her 14th season as the head coach of the William & Mary women's basketball team. The winningest coach in modern Tribe women's basketball history, Taylor has coached 32 All-CAA selections including 11 all-rookie honorees, one Player of the Year, two Defensive Players of the Year, and the CAA's prestigious Dean Ehler's Leadership Award on two separate occasions. Taylor returned to her alma mater after coaching at the University of South Carolina and West Virginia University.
ECU WBB History
Overall, East Carolina women's basketball owns a 615-532 all-time record dating back to the 1969-70 season in which the Pirates were led by then-head coach Catherine Bolton. Since the program's inception, ECU has made a pair of NCAA tournament appearances (1982 and 2007), seen action in the WNIT (2010) and won three conference tournament titles (1984 with the Colonial Athletic Association, 1985 with the CAA, and 2007 with Conference USA). Prior to women's sports being sponsored by the NCAA, East Carolina made one National AIAW Tournament appearance in 1973.
East Carolina is returning 11 players to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum from last season. The 11 returners include four seniors in Celeste Stewart, Britny Edwards, Whitny Edwards and Shala Hodges. The Pirates welcome back three juniors in Kristine Mial, Katie Paschal, and Ariana Jackson, as well as four sophomores in Kyani White, Dana Jones, Tatiana Chapple, and Janesha Ebron. Stewart returns to the court as the only Pirate who started in all 31 games last season. She finished the year with a team-leading 106 assists. Britny Edwards was last year's leading rebounder with 218, and averaged 7.0 rebounds per game, while leading the team with 45 blocks on the year. Hodges led the Pirates in three-point field goal percentage with 34.8-percent. In addition, she added 240 points to average 10.4 points per game which was good for second on the squad. Mial will don purple and gold again after a sophomore campaign in which she led the Pirates with 56 steals and finished with 271 points, which ranked her second on the team.
Getting to Know the Newcomers
The Pirates welcome six newcomers to the court this season in two freshman and four transfers. Colleen Marshall and Chanel Green are the incoming freshman, while Elise Shelton, Shawnda Robinson, Abria Trice and Jada Payne round out the transfers. Marshall comes to ECU from 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. Marshall joins Green who graduated from Howard D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C., and helped Woodson to four consecutive D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association titles and a pair of Washington, D.C. city championships. Shelton made the cross-country trek from Phoenix, Ariz., where she averaged a double-double with 14.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game as a freshman at Phoenix College. She also led the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) in rebounding and blocked shots, was fifth in field goal percentage and eighth in scoring. Trice will redshirt this season after transferring from UNC Wilmington where she started in 32 of the team's 33 games. She finished second on the team in scoring (10.6) and blocks (17) and was third on the squad in steals (51). Payne will also redshirt as she transferred to ECU from La Salle where she was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team in her freshman campaign. Payne appeared in all 31 games, starting in 26, and was the team's high-scorer in five contests while leading the squad in rebounding on two occasions.
The Coaching Staff
The half-dozen newcomers are not the only new faces that will be seen on the court this season. Coach Macy welcomed a new coaching staff over the summer in Jill Poe, Rachel Stockdale, and Ollin Dunford, along with Director of Operations Eric McCabe and Video Coordinator Nicole Mealing. Coach Poe brings a wealth of experience to the ECU staff as well as some familiarity as she was on staff during the 2010-11 season. Poe owns 18 years of coaching experience at the Division I level, with an emphasis on developing post players. In addition, Coach Poe also brings four years of head coaching experience after leading the Saint Francis (Pa.) squad from 2003-07. Coach Stockdale comes to ECU after working as an assistant coach at Wake Forest and helping the Demon Deacons to a 20-win season for just the second time ever. In addition, her squad made a trip to the postseason for only the fifth time in school history. Coach Dunford joins the staff after a stint at UNC Wilmington where he helped guide the Seahawks to their second-consecutive 20-win season for the first time in program history and a berth in the WNIT. Before moving to Greenville, McCabe worked at Bucknell University for six years where he served as the athletic ticket manager and campus box office assistant, as well as marketing and promotions assistant. In addition, he worked under Coach Poe at Saint Francis (Pa.) as a student assistant for the women's basketball team. Mealing, a former student-athlete under Coach Macy at Francis Marion University, comes to ECU after serving as an assistant coach at North Augusta High School in South Carolina where she also worked in the special education department.
Closing in on the Top 10
A trio of Pirates are close to breaking into the East Carolina career record book. Senior Shala Hodges is 17 three-pointers away from jumping into 10th place in the ECU annals, while redshirt senior Britny Edwards is 18 blocks away from etching her name onto the East Carolina career blocks list, and senior Celeste Stewart needs 47 assists to crack into the Top 10 in ECU assists.
Off the Bench
The East Carolina women's basketball team utilizes its bench as much as anyone, if not more. Last season, the Pirates' bench out-scored their opponents in 19 of 31 games. ECU's bench tallied 656 points to their opponents' 429.
With the loss of Chareya Smith, the 2011-12 ECU leading scorer who finished the year with 328 points, the Pirates will be looking for someone to fill her shoes offensively. Last year, Kristine Mial racked up 271 points in her sophomore season, which was good for second on the squad. The Pirates can also look to Shala Hodges for offensive support as Hodges tallied 240 points last year and averaged 10.4 points per game.
Cleaning up the Glass
Redshirt senior Britny Edwards was the Pirates' leading rebounder last season as the 6-foot-1 power forward and center notched 218 boards to average 7.0 rebounds per game. Edwards tallied 78 offensive rebounds and 140 defensive rebounds to pace the Pirates' defense. In addition, she notched a team-leading 45 blocks on the year, which was 17 more than any of her teammates.
Thanks for the Assistance
Senior Celeste Stewart likes to lend a helping hand both on and off the court. Off the court, Stewart and her teammates volunteered their time in numerous community service projects. On the court, Stewart led the squad with 106 assists on the year to average 8.2 assists per game. Last season, Stewart started in every one of the Pirates' 31 games and logged a team-leading 836 minutes to average 27.0 minutes per game.
Pirates Plunder, Pillage, and Steal
Last season, East Carolina finished the season with 330 steals as a team. 56 of those steals came courtesy of Kristine Mial who led the team in steals and averaged 1.8 steals per game. Britny Edwards chipped in 37 steals which was good for second on the squad.
Good Things Happen in Threes
As a team, the Pirates knocked down 161 three-point field goals last year and finished the year with 1,827 total points. As a sophomore, Kristine Mial led the way draining 41 treys in 128 attempts. She finished the year with a 32-percent three-point field goal average.
The "New" Conference USA
The 2012-13 season marks the final go round in Conference USA for Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF as all four schools are headed to the Big East beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. Replacing the quartet are a half-dozen schools in Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Old Dominion and UT-San Antonio.
The Pirates' 2012-13 season opener will take place on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 5 p.m. at Minges Coliseum. East Carolina will host St. Andrew's in the non-conference contest. The meeting marks the second time the two teams will face off. Last season, the Pirates rolled past the Knights, 109-30, on Nov. 13, 2011. The 109 points scored by ECU was good for third in the East Carolina record book. In that game, Britny Edwards and Tatiana Chapple registered a pair of double-doubles, as Edwards tallied a team-leading 22 points and added 10 rebounds, while Chapple contributed 11 points and as many boards for the Pirates. Edwards' 22 points marked a season-high for the power forward/center.