CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 11, 2010) - Following a month and a half of preseason team practices and two exhibition games, the ETSU women's basketball team is set to open the 2010-11 campaign Friday night when the Lady Bucs travel to Chattanooga. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside McKenzie Arena.
The Lady Bucs split a pair of exhibition games as ETSU rebounded from a 59-51 setback to Tusculum with an 80-67 victory over King College Sunday afternoon. Four players scored in double figures as senior leader Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led the way with 20 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals in 26 minutes of action. Meanwhile, freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) pitched in with 15 points and seven boards off the bench, and junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) added 13 points.
Despite losing 57 percent of their scoring, the Lady Bucs were still ranked atop the preseason conference standings as ETSU was picked second by both the league coaches and media. ETSU lost its top three scorers from a year ago as Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) both graduated in May and are now playing overseas, and senior point guard Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) suffered a season-ending knee injury back in July while playing for the Jamaican National Team. Evans finished her playing career with 1,829 points (fifth all-time) and 1,116 rebounds (third all-time) - becoming only the third player in program history to tally over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Wiles placed right behind her 2010 Atlantic Sun co-Player of the Year recipient, scoring 1,503 total points.
Chattanooga, who is coming off its 11th straight SoCon Championship in 2010, was picked to third in the preseason conference polls - marking the first time in three years the Lady Mocs were not picked to finish first. The Lady Mocs return four letterwinners from last season's squad that reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament, while also adding three redshirts and five freshmen. Kayla Christopher, who was named to the 2009-10 SoCon All-Freshmen Team, was the lone Chattanooga representative on this year's preseason all-conference list. Christopher is the Lady Mocs' top returning scorer from a year ago, as she averaged 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31.2 minutes of work. Meanwhile, junior guard Tenisha Townsend returns after posting 6.0 points per game in 2009-10, and red-shirt junior Whitney Hood will make her Chattanooga debut as she was forced to sit out last season after transferring over from Clemson.
The Lady Mocs defeated Lee University, 65-49, in the only exhibition contest back on Nov. 4 inside McKenzie Arena. Hood finished with a team-high 20 minutes and eight rebounds in 28 minutes of work. Christopher (15 points) and Townsend (14 points) each finished in double figures, respectively.
Chattanooga enters Friday's season opener ranked 17th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
Friday marks the 61st meeting in this historic in-state rivalry, with the Lady Bucs snapping a two-game skid with an 85-61 victory last season in Johnson City. Four of ETSU's five starters combined for 65 of the points, while the team finished 10-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Fans unable to make the trip to Chattanooga can follow all the action online via live stats, courtesy of UTC athletics. To access live stats visit www.GoMocs.com or click on the link above.