Davis selected First Team All-Atlantic Sun, Mitchell lands Second Team and All-Freshman accolades
MACON, Ga. (March 1, 2011) - With the start of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament set to get underway Wednesday afternoon in Macon, Ga., the league office released its postseason awards on Tuesday, and both senior Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) landed all-conference honors.
Davis - who was a unanimous preseason all-conference selection - was named First Team All-Atlantic Sun; while Mitchell received Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honors and was a unanimous All-Freshman Team selection.
"I am pleased T.D. and Destiny were recognized with these awards, because they are two outstanding players," said head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs are in search of their fourth straight conference tournament title this week. "Both T.D. and Destiny have helped put us in the situation to be the number one seed and our overall goal is to go win another championship."
Davis lived up to the expectations after being named to the preseason all-conference list back in October after she posted eleven 20-plus point games - including a career-high 28 points in the win over Jacksonville back on Jan. 15. The Murfreesboro, Tenn. native ranked second in the A-Sun in assists (4.7), third in scoring (15.3) and free throw shooting (82.7), and sixth in steals (2.1). The senior leader also became only the third player in Lady Buccaneer history to record 1,000 points and 400 assists in a career, as Davis currently ranks third in assists (442) and 14th in scoring (1,123). Davis led ETSU in assists 25 times this season, while leading the Blue and Gold in scoring 11 times. The standout guard is also strong free throw shooter as she has hit over 80 percent of her shots at the charity stripe, and Davis is two free throws away of breaking the single-season mark set by current associate head coach DeShawne Blocker (149, 1994-95). Davis currently owns the ETSU single-game record of 16 free throws made versus the Dolphins, while her 14-of-14 effort earlier in the year against Richmond also marked a program best.
"Tara is a tremendous player who gives you 100-percent effort each time she steps out on the floor," said Kemp. "She has been meant a lot to the Lady Buccaneer program and has been the driving force behind our championship success over the last three years. Not only is Tara a standout out performer on the court, but she succeeds in the classroom and within the community. Hopefully she will extend her ETSU basketball career beyond this weekend and help us win a fourth straight championship trophy."
Meanwhile, as Davis etched her named among the ETSU greats, Mitchell gave the Lady Buccaneer faithful a lot to cheer about during her rookie season. Even though her play was cut short due to a season-ending knee injury back on Feb. 12, Mitchell was snubbed when it came to the Freshman of the Year voting.
Mitchell - who ranked second in field goal percentage (51.8), fourth in steals (2.2) and double-doubles (11), fifth in rebounding (9.0) and sixth in scoring (14.5) - was beat out by Mercer's Briana Williams. Williams led the league in scoring (18.0), ranked sixth in three-point field goals made (2.2) and recorded a conference-best four 30-plus point scoring efforts, while the Bears finished with a 2-27 record.
During the year, Mitchell was named Player of the Week once and also received a league-best four Newcomer of the Week honors - despite not being eligible for the final three of the season. In conference play, the Bluffton, Ga. native picked up her play as she recorded nine double-doubles against league competition and ranked in the top-five in five statistical categories. Mitchell ranked second in steals (2.7), third in free throw percentage (80.8) and field goal percentage (51.6), fourth in scoring (15.6) and fifth in rebounding (9.1). Mitchell scored in double figures in 22 of the 24 games played and led the Lady Bucs in rebounding 17 times as a freshman.
"Unfortunately, for Destiny, her season was cut short due to injury, but she is still one of the top players in our conference," added Kemp. "For her to put up numbers like she did as a freshman speaks volumes why type of player she is capable of. Hopefully she will have a successful recovery and we can get back on the court as soon as possible."
USC Upstate's Chelsea McMillan was named A-Sun Player of the Year, while North Florida's Larkira Jones was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year. For the second straight season Florida Gulf Coast's Karl Smesko was given Coach of the Year after guiding the Eagles to a 24-3 record and the regular season title.
The Lady Bucs begin their title defense Wednesday afternoon when ETSU faces Lipscomb in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Tip is set for noon inside Mercer's University Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.