MACON, Ga. (Feb. 2, 2012) – Sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) is in a zone and the Lady Bucs hope she doesn’t get out of it.
Playing three hours away from her hometown, the Bluffton, Ga. native poured in a career-high 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting as the ETSU women’s basketball team cruised past Mercer, 75-59, inside the University Center on Thursday night.
Mitchell, who is now averaging 18.4 points and 11.2 rebounds while shooting 74.5 percent (38-of-51) from the field over her last five games, helped snapped the Lady Bucs’ nine-game road losing streak as ETSU improved to 6-16, 5-6 in Atlantic Sun play. Meanwhile, Mercer suffered its 13th straight loss and dipped to 3-20, 1-11.
Joining Mitchell in double figures was freshman Cara Bowling’s (Elizabethton, Tenn.) 12-point performance, while red-shirt senior guard Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) came off the bench to add seven points and a season-high six assists (one turnover) in 25 minutes of action.
“Destiny loves Macon I guess,” said head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs have now won six straight over the Lady Bears. “She played her tail off and was amazing tonight. Destiny was able to do whatever she wanted out there and was determined to lead her team to a win. Along with her scoring, I thought Destiny did a great job on guarding Briana Williams, while Tarita Gordon also came in and did a nice job keeping her in check. Tarita gave us some solid minutes off the bench, and to have six assists and only one turnover is something we need out of her each night.”
The first ten minutes of the game were tightly contested, but the Lady Bucs turned their game into a higher gear to close out the half and led 40-29 at the break.
ETSU, who shot 51.6 percent in the opening 20 minutes, were tied at 16 with 10:22 remaining in the half, but the Lady Bucs mounted a 15-1 run over the next four-plus minutes to take a commanding 31-17 lead after Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) assisted on one of Mitchell's career-high 12 field goals at the 5:40 mark.
However, the Bears didn’t back down and responded with 10 unanswered to pull within four, but the Blue and Gold finished the final 2 minutes, 40 seconds on a 9-2 spurt to hold an 11-point halftime lead.
Along with shooting over 50 percent from the field for the half, the Lady Bucs assisted on half of their 16 made field goals, while also outscoring the Lady Bears by six in fast-break points – 10 to 4. Eight different ETSU players reached the scoring column as Mitchell led all scorers with 11 points.
After scoring 11 points in the first 20 minutes, Mitchell took over in the second half as she netted 19 of the Lady Bucs’ 35 points in the final stanza.
Mitchell, who missed her first jumper at the 19:33 mark of the second half, went on to record nine consecutive makes until she couldn’t convert on her final attempt with 29 seconds remaining in the game.
During the clinic the Bluffton, Ga. native put on in front of family and friends inside the UC, Mitchell scored 14 of ETSU's 20 points in the paint in the second half, while the Lady Bucs didn’t let Mercer get to within single digits in the final 20 minutes.
The Lady Bears pulled to within 10 points on three different possessions, but with ETSU leading 59-49, the Lady Bucs went on to score 16 of the final 26 points of the contest to pull out their first road win since last Feb. 21 at Belmont.
ETSU shot a season-high 53.6 percent (30-56) from the field, while finishing with 14 assists and 12 steals. Mercer was held to a 35.2 percent shooting clip (25-71) and turned the ball over 23 times. The Lady Bucs went on to score 20 points off those miscues, while doubling Mercer up in points in the paint, 44 to 22. In total, eight of the ten Lady Buccaneer players who logged minutes reached the scoring column.
Mercer was led by Williams’ 16-point effort on 7-of-18 shooting from the field.
The Lady Bucs cap off their three-game road swing Saturday afternoon when ETSU travels to Kennesaw State. Tip is set for noon inside the KSU Convocation Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.