LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2013) – After nearly two complete weeks off from competition, the ETSU women’s basketball team will challenge the No. 5 (AP/USA Today) Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. inside Memorial Coliseum. The game will be available for viewing on Fox Sports South.
The Buccaneers (2-5) will face their second Southeastern Conference (SEC) foe in as many games Sunday after meeting the Vanderbilt Commodores on Dec. 3. ETSU started hot from the field against Vandy but quickly cooled down. The Bucs took an only seven point deficit into halftime but the Commodores opened the second period with a burst to take control of the game. Facing a sizeable deficit for much of the second half, the Blue and Gold did not quit and managed to execute down the stretch. In the end, Vandy showed its potential and downed the Bucs, 92-71; handing ETSU its second-consecutive loss.
The matchup with Kentucky (10-0) will be the third all-time meeting between the two teams, a series that is knotted at one game apiece. In the most recent matchup, ETSU bested UK, 59-50, on Dec. 12, 2008 in Lexington.
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 Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
ETSU ENTERS INTO EZELL ERA
The ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2013-14 season under the guidance of first-year head coach. Brittney Ezell. A two-sport star in basketball and softball at the University of Alabama, Ezell comes to ETSU after spending three seasons as head coach at Belmont University where she compiled a 41-52 overall record. The Franklin, Tenn. native takes the reigns of a veteran-heavy team that returns nine letterwinners from an 8-18 overall 2012-13 campaign. Among the nine returnees are six players who started 10 or more games last season. Highlighted among the returnees is last year’s team-leading scorer and rebounder Destiny Mitchell who led the way with 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Supporting Mitchell are juniors Serena Clark and Cara Bowling who each averaged 9.5 points per game last season.
MITCHELL TO MISS REMAINDER OF SEASON
As a result of a leg injury suffered in the first regular season game of the season at Memphis on Nov. 8, senior Destiny Mitchell will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign. Mitchell will continue injury rehabilitation and the ETSU compliance department will petition for a medical redshirt to have the forward cleared to participate in 2014-15.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in six of the seven games this season. After falling just one rebound short of a double-double in the season opener at Memphis (11/8), the native Georgian reeled off four-consecutive double-doubles for ETSU in games from Nov. 12th thru the 29th. The most recent performance came versus Alabama A&M (11/29) when the junior posted a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in an 82-65 win. Clark has now exceeded her double-double total from last season just seven games into the 2013-14 campaign with five this season and seems poised for more throughout the year. Her 12.3 points per game currently ranks among the top-20 in the A-Sun, while her 12.1 boards per game ranks second in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently averaging a team-leading 13.3 points per game for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game is 10th in the A-Sun and her 2.1 three-point field goal makes per game stands tied for fourth in the league. The Elizabethton native posted a career-high 22 points vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24) including four makes from behind the arc.
FROM WALK-ON TO STARTER
Sophomore guard Chandler Christopher has proved to be a valuable piece for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. After spending the entirety of the 2012-13 campaign as a seldom-used freshman walk-on, first-year head coach Brittney Ezell liked what she saw from Christopher and decided to elevate the Greeneville native from walk-on to scholarship status prior to this season. Christopher has since recorded her first-career starts in each of the first seven games of this season and has been a vital cog for the Blue and Gold. After netting two points, five rebounds and three assists in the opener at Memphis (11/8), the guard followed with career-highs of 17 points and four assists in an also career-best 37 minutes played in ETSU’s 81-72 win at Appalachian State (11/12). Christopher’s performance in the Bucs’ first win of the season led to her being named A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Monday, Nov. 18. The sophomore then added another team-leading scoring performance to her résumé with 15 points in a 77-69 loss to Morehead State on Nov. 21.
To begin the 2013-14 season, the Bucs are averaging 30 points in the paint through seven games including 36 in the season opener at Memphis (11/8), in the home opener vs. Morehead State (11/21) and in a home date vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24). The Blue and Gold got a season-high 42 points in the paint in an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29).
To begin the 2013-14 campaign, ETSU outrebounded the Memphis Tigers 47-44 in a 77-74 overtime loss on Nov. 8 and boarded evenly with the Appalachian State at 40 in the Bucs’ 81-72 win in Boone, N.C. on Nov. 12. The Bucs also outrebounded the Morehead State Eagles, 36-27, in a 77-69 loss on Nov. 21. In an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29) the Blue and Gold dominated the Bulldogs, 43-29, on the boards. The Bucs’ current +2.1 rebound margin ranks fifth in the A-Sun.
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through seven games to begin the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 73.1 points per game which is first in the A-Sun. With the 73.1 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage and three-point field percentage where the Bucs are second in the league at 43 and 34 percent, respectively.
BUCS PICKED MIDDLE OF THE PACK
The Atlantic Sun coaches picked the Bucs to finish tied with North Florida at fifth, while in the media poll ETSU was selected seventh ... the coaches picked FGCU with seven first-place votes to win the conference, while the media selected FGCU with 30 first-place votes ... the Bucs finished the 2012-13 season in eighth.
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