JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 15, 2012) – Basketball season is just around the corner as ETSU women’s basketball started preparing for the 2012-13 season and is less than a month way from the season opener.
Head ETSU women’s basketball coach Karen Kemp returns for a 19th season at the helm.
“It’s the first week, but as far as work ethic and playing hard and going hard, I have been really pleased,” Kemp said. “It is early on so we do have a ways to go, but I’m pleased with the focus. They have come out with a lot of focus everyday and eager to learn. Having so many returnees it has been a little smoother, because we only have three newcomers. It has been easy to add and put in a lot of our offense and defense early because we have so many returnees.”
The Lady Bucs are coming off a tough 2011-12 season with an 8-22 record, which snapped their program-best six consecutive winning seasons. However, ETSU looks to return to its winning ways as they return eight letterwinners. The Blue and Gold return three starters, Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) and Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.), including letterwinners Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.), Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.), Amy Duke (Hendersonville, Tenn.), Ashley Miles (Bowie, Md.) and Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.).
Mitchell will be looked upon to continue to lead ETSU as she is the Lady Bucs’s top returning scorer and rebounder. The Bluffton, Ga., native averaged 12.2 points per game and grabbed a conference best 8.9 boards per game. She earned her second-straight Second-Team All-Atlantic Sun honor last March. Mitchell is on pace to become the 21st Lady Buc to join the 1,000 point club as she scored 367 points last year and 347 as a freshman.
The Lady Bucs will miss three of their four top scorers from last year in guards Natalie Pickwell and Tarita Gordon, and forward Gwen Washington. Washington ended her historic career as the 20th member to the 1,000-point club and appeared in all 124 games in the last four years. Pickwell led the team with 48 three-pointers and ranked second with 9.9 points per game. Gordon guided ETSU’s offense with a team-best 74 assists and added 7.7 points per game.
Kemp and her coaching staff have added a lot of depth to the front court with four new forwards. Serena Clark (Tucker, Ga.) sat out last year after transferring from Clemson and has become one of the squads more vocal leaders. Charlotte transfer Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) will be eligible once the fall semester grades are reported because the Camilla, Ga., native joined ETSU’s squad last January. Freshmen Jasmine Kemp (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Imani Martinez (Annandale, N.J.) were both tabbed in the nation’s top-135 forwards list by ESPN HoopGurlz. The Lady Bucs also added athleticism and speed to their back court with the signing of freshman Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.). The guard from Jonesboro, Ga. is one of the fastest players on the floor and has a nose for the ball.
The Lady Bucs have been allotted 30 practices in a 40-day span and will open the season at High Point on Saturday, Nov. 10. Prior to the season opener, ETSU has a pair of exhibition games with Carson-Newman on Nov. 3 and Young Harris on Nov. 5.
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