Bucs aim for their third-straight win and their second 2-0 start in league play in the last five seasons
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 3, 2014) – Looking to begin Atlantic Sun Conference play with back-to-back victories, the ETSU women’s basketball team will host the Northern Kentucky Norse on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center.
The Bucs were able to start league action in the win column with a 78-75 triumph over the Lipscomb Lady Bisons on Thursday evening inside the Dome. ETSU took a nine-point lead into halftime but a fiery LU squad fought back to take a one-point advantage with 2:37 remaining in the contest. With the game tied at 73 all, a Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) bucket in the paint with 1:51 left broke the deadlock in the Bucs’ favor. Subsequent stops on defense and clutch free throws down the stretch by Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) and Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) allowed ETSU to hang on for a 78-75 victory. The win was the Bucs’ 14th-straight versus Lipscomb.
ETSU (5-7, 1-0 A-Sun) and Northern Kentucky (5-7, 1-0 A-Sun) will meet for only the third time in each school’s history after NKU’s move to NCAA Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference prior to last season. In the only two all-time meetings between the two squads, the Norse prevailed in both last year with the most recent matchup being a 77-76 triumph by NKU on Feb. 4, 2013 inside the Dome.
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 undergo surgery and continue injury rehabilitation while the ETSU compliance department petitions for a medical redshirt to have the forward cleared to participate in 2014-15.
LAST TIME VS. NORTHERN KENTUCKY
After leading the game for 39 minutes, the Bucs let the Norse hang around and ultimately paid the price when NKU hit a jumper with three seconds remaining to take a one-point lead. A last second, close look at the basket by ETSU’s Clark caromed off the iron and Northern Kentucky held on to edge ETSU, 77-76. The Blue and Gold headed into halftime up 10, 42-32, behind a dominant 16 points from Tiana Burley. In the second period, turnovers and stagnant offense began to haunt the Bucs as NKU whittled down the ETSU advantage. A late giveaway by the Blue and Gold and a subsequent jumper by NKU to put the Norse up 77-76 with three seconds remaining sealed the deal. Burley led the Bucs with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Cara Bowling and Brianna McQueen pitched in 15 and 13 points, respectively.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in 10 of the 12 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 - 29th including a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 82-65 win against Alabama A&M (11/29). The junior’s most recent double-double came in a 78-75 conference-opening win vs. Lipscomb (1/2) with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Clark has now exceeded her double-double total from last season just twelve games into the 2013-14 campaign with six this season and is poised for more throughout the year. The forward’s 13.2 points per game currently ranks 10th in the A-Sun, while her 11.0 boards per game ranks third in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently the second-leading scorer on the team with 12.7 points per game to begin the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game is 12th in the A-Sun while her 2.0 three-point field goal makes per game is tied for fifth 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 12 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 at App State 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. In an 87-76 win versus George Mason on Dec. 28, Christopher tallied a career-high tying 17 points including a career-best five makes from three-point land.
MCQUEEN DISHING IT OUT
Sophomore Brianna McQueen has been a strong lead guard for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. Using her quickness, the Georgia native is averaging a solid 11.1 points per game at the point guard position and is also getting her teammates involved with 4.7 assists per game. This assist mark ranks third in the Atlantic Sun and will need to continue to keep ETSU’s offense near the top of the conference.
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through 12 games to start the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 72.4 points per game which is second in the A-Sun. With the 72.4 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage, where the Bucs are second in the league at 44 percent, and in three-point field percentage, where ETSU is tops in the conference at 35 percent.
BOND BEGINS SEASON STRONG
After averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 26 games and six starts in 2012-13, junior forward Maria Bond has proved to be a force in the interior to begin the 2013-14 campaign. The native Georgian has started 11 games this season and is currently averaging 10.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Bond posted a season-high 18 points in a 75-67 win versus Indiana State (12/18) and remains a vital piece in ETSU’s paint production going forward.
To begin the 2013-14 season, the Bucs are averaging over 30 points in the paint through 12 games including 36 in the season opener at Memphis (11/8). ETSU also registered 36 points in the paint in the home opener vs. Morehead State (11/21) as well as in home dates vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24), Indiana State (12/18) and Chattanooga (12/21). The Blue and Gold got a season-high 42 points in the paint in an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29). Recently, the Bucs posted 40 points in the paint in a 78-75 conference-opening win vs. Lipscomb (1/2).
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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