Second half Stetson surge proved too much
MACON, Ga. (March 6, 2013) – Offensive inefficiency from the Lady Bucs and improved offensive output from the Hatters in the second half doomed No. 7 ETSU as No. 2 Stetson was able to accumulate a 14-point lead late and hung on to defeat the Blue and Gold, 66-55, on Wednesday evening inside Hawkins Arena in the Atlantic Sun Championship quarterfinals.
With the loss, ETSU ends the season with an 8-18 overall record, including 6-12 in Atlantic Sun action, while Stetson improves its overall record to 22-8, including 14-14 in league play.
“My young ladies played really hard,” ETSU head coach Karen Kemp said. “I was proud of the effort. We had a stretch there to start the second half where we really struggled from the field and Stetson was hitting their three-pointers. I thought we had good looks but we were just not able to knock them down. Stetson is a really good basketball team, but I am proud of my young ladies too.”
The Lady Bucs came out fired up for the Atlantic Sun Championship and scored the first six points of the contest before the first media timeout at the 15:50 mark. Stetson responded with its first points of the game with a three-pointer at the 15:11 mark to snap the ETSU spurt. This triple was part of a 9-0 run for the Hatters from the 15:19 to the 13:15 marks to put the Hatters on top, 9-6. Shots started to fall for SU, while the Lady Bucs began turning the ball over which gave Stetson more opportunities to score as it increased its lead to as many as many as nine points with 8:30 left. Back-to-back baskets from Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) with 6:30 remaining allowed ETSU to take back the lead, 21-20, but the Hatters fired back to regain the advantage, 22-21. The two squads traded baskets the remainder of the half before Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) attacked the basket on the Lady Bucs’ final possession, earning a trip to the free throw line. Randall nailed both free throws to send ETSU into the break with a 29-28 advantage.
ETSU got a quick bucket on its first possession of the second half off of a perfectly executed back-cut layup by Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.), but Stetson answered with an 8-2 burst over the next four minutes to take a 38-33 lead with 15:23 remaining. After frigid shooting from behind the arc in the first half, the Hatters found their groove from the outside and hit three trifectas in the first eight minutes of the second stanza. In addition, the Blue and Gold struggled on the offensive end and continued to turn the ball over which allowed SU to build up its lead to as many as 14 points with 3:57 remaining. The Lady Bucs did not quit though and battled back to cut their deficit to five on a Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) three with 1:22 left, but the Hatters were able to hang on for the duration of the game and dropped ETSU, 66-55.
Stetson was led by a pair of 18-point scorers in Shanasa Sanders and Sasha Sims. Sanders also added four steals and two assists. Meanwhile, ETSU got a game-high 23 points from Destiny Mitchell, including 15 in the first half, but had only one additional double-digit scorer with Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) adding 11 points and five rebounds. The Lady Bucs did get a solid, all-around effort from Cara Bowling with eight points, six rebounds and five steals as well.
The Hatters shot a strong 44 percent from the field, including 32 percent from three-point range after draining only 18 percent of its attempts in the first half. SU also shot 65 percent from the free throw line and racked up 13 assists on 24 made field goals.
Meanwhile, the Lady Bucs shot a sub-standard 30 percent from the floor and again struggled from behind the arc at only 17 percent. The Blue and Gold did make the most of their opportunities from the charity stripe though, knocking down 82 percent of its tries. Once again, ETSU outrebounded its opponent, this time 41-35, and managed 14 second chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds. The Lady Bucs also held advantages in points in the paint (28-20) and bench points (12-9), but allowed Stetson to cash in with 16 points off of their 18 turnovers.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer athletics, visit ETSUBucs.com.