JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2012) – When the ETSU women’s basketball team reflects on its game against North Florida, the Lady Bucs will be haunted by the little things they couldn’t overcome following the 74-69 overtime loss to the Ospreys on Saturday afternoon inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
Despite trailing for the majority of the first half and midway through the second, the Lady Bucs still had a chance to put the game away in regulation. However, with the Blue and Gold leading by two with 32 seconds remaining, freshman guard Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) missed the front end of a one-and-one, leading to UNF’s Lakira Jones’ game-tying lay-up with 17 seconds left on the clock. After fellow freshman Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) missed a point-blank jumper on the following possession, the Ospreys couldn’t get a shot off, which sent the game into overtime.
In the extra stanza, North Florida scored the first two points and never relinquished the lead, as the Ospreys outscored ETSU, 10-5, to capture their first-ever win in Johnson City.
Even though the Lady Bucs held Brittany Kirkland – UNF’s leading scorer in check – it was the tandem of Jadhken Kerr and Raneisha Lamar that took over. Kerr, who netted all seven of the Ospreys’ three-pointers, finished with a career-high 25 points, while Lamar collected a double-double (15 points and 15 rebounds). Kirkland was held to seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.
While Kerr and Lamar were keeping the Lady Bucs frustrated, sophomore guard Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) recorded her third straight double-double after registering 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) scored 16 of her team-high 18 points in the second half and overtime.
The little things that will haunt the Blue and Gold when looking back on this game are missed free throws and rebounding. ETSU, who is traditionally a strong free throw shooting team, went 11-of-17 at the charity stripe, and the Lady Bucs were out-rebounded by 15, 55 to 40. Of the 55 rebounds, UNF pulled down 23 offensive boards, resulting into 18 second-chance points.
With the loss, the Lady Bucs have now dropped three straight and saw their record fall to 6-19, 5-9 in A-Sun, while UNF improved to 10-16, 7-8.
“This is a frustrating loss today, because if we do the little things that I have been preaching from day one, we wouldn’t be standing here disappointed,” said head coach Karen Kemp. "We don’t go to overtime if we get a couple of key box outs or knock down an extra free throw or two. Our goal each game is to shoot 80 percent at the free throw line, but today we were 64 percent. If we do what I consider the little things that make a big difference at the end, it’s a whole different story.
“It’s very frustrating and disappointing, but I’m not giving up on this team at all… I’m going to figure it out. We have four more games left and we definitely need to go out and take care of business in these next four, so we are not sitting at home come tournament time. Hopefully, that’s finally sinking in with the players – that if we don’t start winning ballgames – we won’t be going to Macon.”
Just like Thursday night against Jacksonville, the first half was tightly contested until the Ospreys went on a late run to take an eight-point lead into the locker room, 34-26.
Despite shooting 26 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, the Lady Bucs still found themselves within striking distance to start the second half. UNF shot much better (48 percent clip) and outscored the Blue and Gold by 10 in the paint, 18 to 8.
After Kerr began the second half with a three, the Lady Bucs dug deep and fought back.
Over the next 9-plus minutes, ETSU slowly chipped away at its deficit and eventually took a two-point advantage after Bogard nailed one of the Lady Bucs’ 10 three-pointers to make it a 48-46 game with 10:07 remaining.
From there, both teams traded buckets over the next minute of play, but with ETSU clinging to a two-point cushion, the Ospreys scored seven unanswered points to regain a 57-52 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation.
UNF continued to hold the momentum until the Lady Bucs went on a run of their own to take the 64-62 lead.
Over a stretch of nearly five minutes, ETSU held the Ospreys scoreless, but the Blue and Gold still couldn’t walk away with the much-needed victory. Mitchell’s lay-in gave the Lady Bucs the two-point lead with 42 seconds left, but ETSU was unable to take care of the little things down the stretch in order to secure the win.
The Lady Bucs looked to be in prime position after Bowling forced Kim Baker into a turnover with 32 seconds remaining – but after Bogard was fouled – the Georgetown, Texas native couldn’t convert at the charity stripe which led to Jones’ game-tying bucket with less than 20 seconds left in regulation.
In overtime, the Lady Bucs – who never led in the extra five minutes play – went 1-of-7 from the field, but managed to make three of their four free throw attempts. Unfortunately, UNF made three of its seven field goals and connected on three of its six free throw attempts in the extra stanza.
For the game, the Lady Bucs shot 33.3 percent (24-72) from the field and went 10-of-24 from beyond the arc (41.7 percent), while UNF shot 43.1 percent and finished 7-for-18 from three (38.9 percent). Both teams struggled at the free throw line as ETSU was 11-of-17, compared to the Ospreys’ 11-for-24 showing.
Along with Pickwell and Mitchell, Bowling also scored in double figures as she finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
The Lady Bucs will look to bounce back into the win column as ETSU embarks on its trip to the Music City, beginning Thursday night at Lipscomb. Tip is set for 7:30 (Eastern) inside Allen Arena.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.