ETSU hopes to snap a season-long four-game losing skid
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2013) – After falling to the top three teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference in their last three contests, the Lady Bucs aim to right the ship against a team that they defeated earlier this season when they host the Kennesaw State Owls inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center on Monday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.
February has proven to be a very challenging time for the ETSU Lady Bucs (6-15, 4-10) who currently hold a dismal 1-4 record in the month. Following setbacks against three teams who are competing for the conference crown, the Blue and Gold face a Kennesaw State Owls (7-18, 3-10) team who sits below them in the league standings and was bested by the Lady Bucs earlier this season. Once again, a key component in the contest will be the health of the team’s leading scorer and rebounder Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.), who was held out of the recent contest against Mercer due to lingering issues with a previous knee injury. Mitchell’s status remains day-to-day. With or without Mitchell, ETSU must find a way to put the ball in the basket after shooting a poor 19 percent in the second half against Mercer, which included only six made field goals the entire period.
The matchup between the Lady Bucs and the Owls will be the 15th all-time meeting between the two schools, a series in which ETSU dominates with a 13-1 overall series advantage. ETSU and KSU met earlier this season in Kennesaw, Ga. where the Lady Bucs topped the Owls, 61-59. In this recent contest, the Blue and Gold stormed back from a 13-point second half deficit to steal a two-digit victory on KSU’s home floor.
For more on Monday’s game, read the game notes below. For more on ETSU women’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link.
WE ARE “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” throughout the 2012-13 season ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics, please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Lady Buccaneers, but Lady Bucs is also acceptable.
LAST TIME OUT
ETSU (6-15, 4-10) aimed to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they welcomed the Mercer Bears to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. Early cold shooting forced the Lady Bucs to fall behind by as many as five points with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. ETSU responded with a 11-5 run over the next five minutes to take a one point lead and even increased its advantage to as many as five points with three minutes remaining. This resurgence allowed the Lady Bucs to go into halftime with a 34-33 advantage. In the second period, ETSU’s shooting went dead cold from the field while MU used a 19-5 run to take a 52-39 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Over the next half of the period, the Bears maintained a sizeable lead en route to a 67-58 loss for the Blue and Gold. ETSU featured three players who scored in double-figures including Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) with a team-high 12 points, Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) with 11 points and Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) with 10 points.
LADY BUCS VS. KENNESAW STATE
Monday’s contest in the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center will be the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams. The Lady Bucs and the Owls met earlier this season, on Jan. 19, when ETSU topped KSU, 61-59. In this recent matchup, ETSU started strong with an 8-2 run over the first three minutes of the game. The Lady Bucs even increased their lead to as many as nine points with 14:02 left in the period. KSU responded and flipped the script with a run of its own to take the lead at the midway point of the half. The teams traded baskets throughout and the Owls took a 36-32 advantage into the break. The Blue and Gold suffered a poor start to the second stanza by scoring only six points in the opening 10 minutes of the period, while KSU was able to increase its lead to as many as 13 points during this ETSU cold streak. The Lady Bucs finally got it going with seven minutes remaining and went on a 19-8 burst to take the lead back with 2:19 left. Late free throws allowed the Blue and Gold to hang on for a 61-59 victory. Destiny Mitchell posted a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) also added 18 points. Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) contributed 10 points and nine rebounds as well.
After being inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season against North Florida on Jan. 26, sophomore guard Cara Bowling has successfully responded to the promotion. Following scoring 14 points in her first game as a starter this season, Bowling has kept the momentum going with strong offensive performances since. In the Elizabethton, Tenn. native’s last five games, she is averaging 12.4 points per game, including a season-high tying 15 points vs. Northern Kentucky on Feb. 4. The sharpshooter has also fired at a 42 percent clip from behind the arc in these contests.
The Lady Bucs have recently discovered the most offensive production through points in the paint. ETSU is currently averaging 30 points in the paint per game, including an average of 32 points in its past five. In the win against Jacksonville, the Blue and Gold recorded 50 points in the paint, the most since scoring 50 as well on Jan. 31, 2011 in a 100-62 victory against Mercer in Johnson City.
The Blue and Gold have outrebounded the opposition in 16 of the 21 games this season and enter Saturday’s game with a plus-6.9 rebounding margin (43.5-36.7), ranking first in the A-Sun … in a loss at FGCU, the Lady Bucs outrebounded the Eagles by 20, 53-33 … the Lady Bucs’ plus-6.9 rebound margin currently ranks in the top 30 nationally. ETSU also outrebounds its A-Sun opponents at a plus-8.5 clip.
The emergence of redshirt-sophomore Tiana Burley has provided a badly-needed inside presence for the Lady Bucs. In the transfer’s first action as a Lady Buc due to NCAA regulations, the forward came off the bench and posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Appalachian State. This performance awarded Burley A-Sun Newcomer of the Week honors on Dec. 26. Burley also came up huge off the bench in the win against Jacksonville (1/28) when she posted season-highs of 22 points and four blocks as well as 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes of play. On Feb. 4, the sophomore forward was awarded Atlantic Sun Women’s Basketball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. After being inserted into the starting lineup against Northern Kentucky due to injuries amongst the team, Burley dominated from the start and scored 16 points before the midway point of the first half. In total, the sophomore forward scored 20 points and ripped down 11 rebounds. The Camilla, Ga. native followed this performance with another double-double against Stetson with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Burley is currently averaging 8.5 points and 5.1 rebounds for ETSU.
After being inserted into the starting lineup at the beginning of conference play, Shawn Randall has answered the call and has been stellar in league play. In her first start of the season at USC Upstate, Randall tallied 16 points and was 4-of-6 from behind the arc. The junior guard followed this performance with strong showings at Lipscomb (13 points, 4 rebounds), at Northern Kentucky (9 points) and at Kennesaw State (18 points). Randall is currently averaging 8.2 points per game in Atlantic Sun action.
MCQUEEN STRONG FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
In addition to running the team as a true freshman point guard, Brianna McQueen has shown no fear at the free throw stripe with the game on the line. At Lipscomb and at Kennesaw State, McQueen stepped the line and buried clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game in the Lady Bucs’ favor. McQueen currently is ninth in the A-Sun in free throw shooting at 73.8 percent.
Currently the Lady Bucs are averaging 5.2 blocks per contest, good for tops in the Atlantic Sun. ETSU swatted a season-high nine shots in a loss at Stetson on Feb. 9. The Blue and Gold are led by Tosha Austin’s (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 1.1 blocks per game which ranks in the top five individually in the league. Austin also currently ranks tied for 15th all-time in blocked shots in Atlantic Sun history with 122 rejections.
MITCHELL’S HOT START
Destiny Mitchell has scored in double figures in ten out of the eighteen games she has played in this season and is averaging 11.8 points per contest … Mitchell scored a season-high 26 points in the opener at High Point back on Nov. 10 and added 14 points and 16 rebounds in the 10-point win vs. Memphis to close out the month of November ... Mitchell is currently eighth in the A-Sun in scoring (11.8), second in rebounding (8.6), fourth in steals (2.3) and fifth in field goal percentage (48.9).
MITCHELL’S PURSUIT TO THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
Mitchell is well on her way to become the 21st Lady Buc to join the 1,000-point club ... She is on pace to break the 1,000-point mark near the end of February as she registered 347 points as a freshman and 367 points as a sophomore for 714 total points... through ETSU’s first 20 games of the 2012-13 season she has scored 212 to move her career total to 926 … if Mitchell scores in similar fashion in the next two years as she did as a rookie and as a sophomore, she will put herself in the top-10 in Lady Buc history.
CLARK TURNS IT ON FOR A-SUN PLAY
After a solid start to the season for the now eligible transfer, Serena Clark (Tucker, Ga.) has really turned it on when it comes to Atlantic Sun action. Through the first 14 games of league play, Clark is averaging 8.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, including back-to-back double-doubles at Lipscomb and at Northern Kentucky with 10 points & 14 rebounds and 16 points, 10 rebounds & seven steals, respectively.
SECOND HALF SURGES
The Lady Bucs have been a tough team to beat when it comes to the second half of the season (games played from January-March) … since January of 2008, ETSU is 80-39 (.672) in the months of January through March, including a program-best 19-3 mark in 2009-10.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH
Through the early portion of the season, ETSU has gotten strong contributions from its bench. On the season ETSU averages 25 bench points per game, including a season-high 44 points off the bench against Memphis. Key reserves Maria Bond (6.0 ppg) and Brianna McQueen (9.3 ppg) have been vital for the Lady Bucs.
HAVING FUN IN THE A-SUN
The Lady Bucs have enjoyed a lot of success since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06 … since joining the league, the Lady Buccaneers have averaged 15 conference wins a year, including a league-best and school record 18-2 mark in 2009-10, three Atlantic Sun Tournament titles (2008-2010), and two regular season championships (2008 and 2010) …in total, ETSU is 103-43 (.705) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Lady Bucs have also won 83 of their last 116 games against conference foes (includes the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 A-Sun Tournaments).
75 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Since the 2002-03 season the Lady Bucs are 106-18 when the they hit the 75-point plateau, including 76-14 since the 2006-07 season... recently, ETSU put up 86 to defeat Lipscomb by 22 and earn the 106th such victory.
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