Tiana Burley comes off of the bench to score a career-high 25 points in 22 minutes of play
KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 20, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball team needed every bit of Tiana Burley’s (Camilla, Ga.) career-best 25 points as it fended off a second half comeback by the Kennesaw State Owls to prevail, 63-60, on Thursday evening inside the KSU Convocation Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 8-16 overall and 4-9 in the Atlantic Sun, while Kennesaw State drops to 6-19 on the season and 4-10 in league play.
Playing short-handed personnel-wise yet again, the Bucs needed big contributions from some of their reserves. After falling behind by 11 points with 13:11 to go in the first half, Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) and Burley began to take over on the offensive end. Freshman Bridges drilled a season-high three three-pointers in the opening period, while junior Burley imposed her will on the inside to the tune of 16 points. This increased offensive production spurred a 35-12 run to end the half to allow the Bucs to go into the break leading, 41-29.
Facing a large deficit, Kennesaw State came out of halftime energized and quickly began to reduce ETSU’s advantage. A 15-6 KSU surge to start the second period closed the gap to 47-44 with 14:28 left to play. After shooting an efficient 46 percent from the floor in the opening half, the Bucs struggled to find their offensive flow in the second and the Owls took advantage of it. Playing back and forth for much the period, KSU was able to get within two, 54-52, with 7:08 to go. The Bucs did not panic and used a burst to take a seven-point lead, 61-54, with 4:11 remaining before the home team refused to go away lightly. Leading by only one, 61-60, with six seconds left, the ETSU defense forced KSU into a turnover in the final seconds. A pair of free throws by Jasmine Hotchkins (Phoenix, Ariz.) with a second left sealed the game in the Bucs’ favor, 63-60.
ETSU was paced by a game and career-high 25 points - as well as a season-best nine rebounds – in 22 minutes of play from Burley, while Bridges added 13 points in a season-high 38 minutes. Additionally, Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) was on the cusp of her tenth double-double of the season with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Kennesaw State featured two double-figure scorers, led by a team-best 23 points from Kristina Wells as well as 12 from Bria Young.
The Blue & Gold shot 37 percent from the floor and a proficient 72 percent (13-of-18) from the free-throw line. Burley’s 25 points accounted for each of ETSU bench points, while also registering the bulk of the team’s 28 bench points. The Bucs also outrebounded the Owls, 42-28, including 18 offensive rebounds which translated into 21 second-chance points.
KSU shot identically to ETSU with 37 percent from the field and 27 percent from three-point range. In addition, the Owls turned 11 takeaways into 10 points off turnovers and assisted on 11 of their 20 made field goals.
The Bucs will continue their Peach State road trip with a visit to Macon, Ga. to take on the Mercer Bears on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m. inside Hawkins Arena.
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