JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2012) – The ETSU women’s basketball team took time away from the hardwood on Friday to have a coming to heart meeting, and the refocusing paid off on Saturday against Lipscomb.
The Lady Bucs jumped out to a 17-2 run to start the game and ETSU never looked back, as the Blue and Gold breezed their way to an 89-52 win over the Lady Bison inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
ETSU came together as a team and had some fun as every Lady Buccaneer player contributed in their largest victory of the year.
Sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) was as explosive as can be, as she posted her third double-double of the year after finishing with 21 points and a career-tying 13 rebounds. Meanwhile, senior sharpshooter Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) bounced back in a big way off the bench. After not attempting a shot on Thursday night, the Kingsport native recorded 17 points (7-of-15 shooting), five rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 25 minutes of play. Overall, eight players reached the scoring column and four finished in double figures.
With the win, the Lady Bucs snapped their three-game skid and improved to 5-14, 4-5 in A-Sun play, while Lipscomb dropped to 3-17, 1-8.
“This was probably the best we have played as a team, and I was really, really proud because this may be the first time all year we had more assists than turnovers,” said head coach Karen Kemp, who saw her Lady Bucs finish with a season-high 22 assists (19 turnovers). “We distributed the basketball and we played together as a team.
“Yesterday was a little bit different from a standpoint of game preparation. As far as practice goes, we didn’t practice. We sat down and met as team, and talked about what this team needed to do in order to get back on the right track. I put it as righting the ship. I even referenced the cruise ship that went down last weekend – and how the captain took off running – I’m not going to leave this team and I will be here to see the Lady Bucs get better. We had deep, deep discussions and didn’t go over anything Lipscomb runs, because I told the team if we take care of us, we will be okay. I thought today we took care of what we needed to do in order to win and played our style of basketball.”
After coming out flat in its last two outings, ETSU stormed out to a 9-0 run and eventually led 17-2 after Pickwell found Mitchell open for a lay-up at the 13:10 mark. Just as Lipscomb thought they found some rhythm after cutting the deficit to nine, the Lady Bucs answered back and took over the game with a 23-9 run over a span of 9-plus minutes and led 42-19 right before the break.
For the half, ETSU shot 41.5 percent (17-41) and forced Lipscomb into 17 turnovers. The Lady Buccaneer defense also held the Lady Bison to 17.2 percent shooting (5-29) and a 1-of-14 showing from beyond the arc.
The second half was much of the same for the Blue and Gold as ETSU shot 51.4 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and outscored Lipscomb by 16, 47 to 31.
Holding a 21-point lead at the half, the Lady Bucs pushed their lead to 35 in the opening 6 minutes, 42 seconds, and led 60-25 after Mitchell connected on one of her eight field goal makes (10 attempts).
From there the fun continued for the Blue and Gold and Lipscomb never knew what hit them.
ETSU eventually saw its lead soar to 40, 85-45, thanks to one of three 3-point field goal makes by Pickwell with 5:57 showing on the clock. In the end, the Lady Bucs came away with their largest margin of victory of the year, 37 points.
For the contest, the Lady Bucs shot a season-high 46.1 percent from the field and made eight of their 19 three-point field goal attempts. ETSU also enjoyed sound ball movement as the Lady Bucs dished out a season-best 22 assists (35 field goals made), while also scoring 33 points off 29 Lipscomb turnovers.
Joining Mitchell and Pickwell in double figures were freshman Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) and senior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.). Bogard, who started her second consecutive game, finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while Washington added 10 points, three rebounds, and two blocks in 19 minutes off the bench.
Lipscomb, who shot 26.7 percent for the game (16-60), was led by Hannah Phillips’ game-high 22-point effort.
The Lady Bucs now step out of conference play for the final time of the season when ETSU hosts SEC power LSU on Tuesday night for its “Pack the House” game. The first 750 fans who show up will receive a limited edition T-Shirt, while the first 200 fans through the gates receive a FREE Pizza Inn tailgate. Also, over $350 in cash prizes will be given away throughout the game.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.