ETSU set to take on UAB in Louisiana

Thursday, November 17, 2011

LAKE CHARLES, La. (Nov. 17, 2011) – A week after opening up its season against Tennessee Tech, the ETSU women’s basketball team will finally return to the hardwood when the Lady Bucs take on UAB Friday evening in the consolation round of the Preseason WNIT. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. (Eastern) inside Burton Coliseum, located on the campus of McNeese State University.

The Lady Bucs suffered an 87-76 setback to the Golden Eagles last Friday night despite sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) scoring a team-high 22 points. ETSU dug itself a deep hole by falling behind by 23 points early in the second half, but after the Lady Bucs finally found their rhythm, they were able to cut the deficit to seven with less than three minutes to play. However, three consecutive three-pointers by Tennessee Tech’s Kellie Cook put the end to any Lady Buccaneer rally as the Golden Eagles hung on for the 11-point victory.

ETSU, who finished 15th in the country last season in free throw shooting, managed to shoot 87.5 percent (28-32) from the charity stripe in the season opener. Mitchell netted a career-high 12 free throws, while Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.), Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.), and Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) combined to go 14-for-14 at the free throw line against Tennessee Tech. The Lady Bucs enter Friday’s game as the top free throw shooting team in the A-Sun with their 87.5 clip.

Like the Lady Bucs, UAB is coming off a loss in its Preseason WNIT opener as Chattanooga handed the Blazers a 65-59 loss last Friday night inside Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena. The Blazers led for more than 12 minutes in the second half, but with 2:27 left in the game Chattanooga took the lead and never looked back. Junior guard Amber Jones finished with 16 points, six assists, five rebounds, and four steals, while sophomore forward Karisma Chapman also scored 16 points in the losing effort.

UAB is coming off its first 20-win campaign since the 2000-01 season after winning the 2011 Women’s Basketball Invitational with a 20-15 record. The Blazers, who were selected sixth in the Conference USA Preseason Poll, return nine letterwinners and five players who saw significant minutes in 2010-11.

The Lady Bucs and Blazers have met six times in program history with the series being knotted at three games apiece. The last time ETSU played UAB was on Dec. 17, 1995, and the Lady Bucs defeated the Blazers, 84-80, in the South Florida Holiday Classic in Tampa.

The winner of the ETSU/UAB game will take on the winner of McNeese State/Manhattan, while the losing teams will also face each other on Saturday afternoon. Game times for Saturday are set for 1 p.m. (Eastern) and 3 p.m.; however, McNeese State will automatically be placed in the 1 o’clock game.

McNeese State, the reigning Southland Conference champion, lost to UCLA 67-59 last week in Los Angeles, while Manhattan – who posted a school-record 24 wins a year ago – fell to Hartford, 64-45.

Fans unable to make the trip to Lake Charles can watch both Lady Buccaneer games online through mcneesesports.com, while live stats will also be provided courtesy of the McNeese State media relations department. Fans can also get all the updates on Twitter @ETSUAthletics.

For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.

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