Fans encouraged to wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2013) – Looking to avoid its longest losing streak of the season, the ETSU Lady Bucs will welcome the Mercer Bears to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1:30 p.m. This home tilt will be highlighted as the annual "Play 4Kay" game to raise awareness about breast cancer and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Fans attending Saturday’s game are encouraged to wear pink.
ETSU (6-14) (4-9) aims to right the ship but must do so against another team seated in the top-tier of the Atlantic Sun standings, the Mercer Bears. After dropping road contests to the top two teams in the league, the Lady Bucs welcome third-place Mercer who has rolled off 10 consecutive wins dating back to Jan. 5. To corral the Bears, ETSU hopes the long layoff between games has allowed the team to rest and get healthy, in particular junior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.). To find success against MU, the Blue and Gold must take better care of the ball after averaging 21 turnovers per game in their recent, three consecutive losses which has resulted in an average of 23 points off these miscues for the opposition in said contests.
The matchup between the Lady Bucs and the Bears will be the 25th all-time meeting between the two schools, a series in which ETSU leads with a 14-10 overall series advantage. ETSU and MU met earlier this season in Macon, Ga. where the Bears topped the Lady Bucs, 79-64. In this contest, the Blue and Gold had no answer for three Mercer players totaling 60 of the team’s 79 points, while ETSU featured only one scorer in double-figures.
For more on Saturday’s game, read the game notes below. For more on ETSU women’s basketball throughout the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link.
WE ARE “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” throughout the 2012-13 season ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics, please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Lady Buccaneers, but Lady Bucs is also acceptable.
LAST TIME OUT
ETSU (6-14, 4-9) looked to snap a two-game losing streak when they traveled to Fort Myers, Fla. to take on the Atlantic Sun-leading Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Lady Bucs took an early 5-4 lead before the first media timeout of the half, but FGCU finally found their groove and went on a 13-0 run over the next six minutes. ETSU was held without a made field goal for 11 minutes while the Eagles closed the half on a 33-16 run to up their advantage to 37-21 at the break. ETSU continued the cold shooting and kept allowing FGCU to capitalize on the Lady Bucs’ turnovers into the second period. The Eagles kept a large a lead for much of the stanza as ETSU could not get anything going, en route to a 70-48 defeat. Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) led the Lady Bucs with 14 points, while Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) added 12 points off the bench.
LADY BUCS VS. MERCER
Saturday’s contest in the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center will be the 25th all-time meeting between the two teams. The Lady Bucs and the Bears met earlier this season, on Jan. 21, when MU topped ETSU, 79-64. In this recent matchup, ETSU looked to build upon their victory over Kennesaw State two days prior when they faced the Mercer Bears inside Hawkins Arena. The Lady Bucs got off to a fast start again, scoring the first five points of the contest. Mercer answered with a run of their own, followed by another streak by ETSU, pushing the lead to as many as nine. Mercer responded quickly and took the lead with two minutes remaining in the period and took a 41-37 lead into the break. In the second stanza, the Lady Bucs battled back to tie the game with eleven minutes remaining, but the Bears answered with a 22-12 run over the final eight minutes to seal the game, 79-64. Destiny Mitchell posted her second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Cara Bowling added nine points.
After being inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season against North Florida on Jan. 26, sophomore guard Cara Bowling has successfully responded to the promotion. Following scoring 14 points in her first game as a starter this season, Bowling has kept the momentum going with strong offensive performances since. In the Elizabethton, Tenn. native’s last five games, she is averaging 12 points per game, including a season-high tying 15 points vs. Northern Kentucky on Feb. 4. The sharpshooter has also fired at a 42 percent clip from behind the arc in these contests.
The Lady Bucs have recently discovered the most offensive production through points in the paint. ETSU is currently averaging 30 points in the paint per game, including an average of 36 points in its past five. In the win against Jacksonville, the Blue and Gold recorded 50 points in the paint, the most since scoring 50 as well on Jan. 31, 2011 in a 100-62 victory against Mercer in Johnson City.
The Blue and Gold have outrebounded the opposition in 15 of the 20 games this season and enter Saturday’s game with a plus-6.8 rebounding margin (43.6-36.8), ranking first in the A-Sun … in a loss at FGCU, the Lady Bucs outrebounded the Eagles by 20, 53-33 … the Lady Bucs’ plus-6.8 rebound margin currently ranks in the top 30 nationally.
The emergence of redshirt-sophomore Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) has provided a badly-needed inside presence for the Lady Bucs. In the transfer’s first action as a Lady Buc due to NCAA regulations, the forward came off the bench and posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Appalachian State. This performance awarded Burley A-Sun Newcomer of the Week honors on Dec. 26. Burley also came up huge off the bench in the win against Jacksonville (1/28) when she posted season-highs of 22 points and four blocks as well as 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes of play. On Feb. 4, the sophomore forward was awarded Atlantic Sun Women’s Basketball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. After being inserted into the starting lineup against Northern Kentucky due to injuries amongst the team, Burley dominated from the start and scored 16 points before the midway point of the first half. In total, the sophomore forward scored 20 points and ripped down 11 rebounds. The Camilla, Ga. native followed this with another double-double against Stetson with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Burley is currently averaging 8.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for ETSU.
After being inserted into the starting lineup at the beginning of conference play, Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) has answered the call and has been stellar in league play. In her first start of the season at USC Upstate, Randall tallied 16 points and was 4-of-6 from behind the arc. The junior guard followed this performance with strong showings at Lipscomb (13 points, 4 rebounds), at Northern Kentucky (9 points) and at Kennesaw State (18 points). Randall is currently averaging 8.2 points per game in Atlantic Sun action.
MCQUEEN STRONG FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE
In addition to running the team as a true freshman point guard, Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) has shown no fear at the free throw stripe with the game on the line. At Lipscomb and at Kennesaw State, McQueen stepped the line and buried clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game in the Lady Bucs’ favor. McQueen currently is ninth in the A-Sun in free throw shooting at 73 percent.
Currently the Lady Bucs are averaging 5.2 blocks per contest, good for tops in the Atlantic Sun. ETSU swatted a season-high nine shots in a loss at Stetson on Feb. 9. The Blue and Gold are led by Tosha Austin’s (Chattanooga, Tenn.) one block per game which ranks in the top five individually in the league. Austin also currently ranks tied for 16th all-time in blocked shots in Atlantic Sun history with 120 rejections.
MITCHELL’S HOT START
Destiny Mitchell has scored in double figures in ten out of the eighteen games she has played in this season and is averaging 11.8 points per contest … Mitchell scored a season-high 26 points in the opener at High Point back on Nov. 10 and added 14 points and 16 rebounds in the 10-point win vs. Memphis to close out the month of November ... Mitchell is currently eighth in the A-Sun in scoring (11.8), second in rebounding (8.6), fourth in steals (2.6) and fourth in field goal percentage (48.9).
MITCHELL’S PURSUIT TO THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
Mitchell is well on her way to become the 21st Lady Buc to join the 1,000-point club ... She is on pace to break the 1,000-point mark near the end of February as she registered 347 points as a freshman and 367 points as a sophomore for 714 total points... through ETSU’s first 20 games of the 2012-13 season she has scored 212 to move her career total to 926 .. if Mitchell scores in similar fashion in the next two years as she did as a rookie and as a sophomore, she will put herself in the top-10 in Lady Buc history.
CLARK TURNS IT ON FOR A-SUN PLAY
After a solid start to the season for the now eligible transfer, Serena Clark (Tucker, Ga.) has really turned it on when it comes to Atlantic Sun action. Through the first 13 games of league play, Clark is averaging 8.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, including back-to-back double-doubles at Lipscomb and at Northern Kentucky with 10 points & 14 rebounds and 16 points, 10 rebounds & seven steals, respectively.
SECOND HALF SURGES
The Lady Bucs have been a tough team to beat when it comes to the second half of the season (games played from January-March) … since January of 2008, ETSU is 80-38 (.678) in the months of January through March, including a program-best 19-3 mark in 2009-10.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH
Through the early portion of the season, ETSU has gotten strong contributions from its bench. On the season ETSU averages 25 bench points per game, including a season-high 44 points off the bench against Memphis. Key reserves Maria Bond (6.1 ppg) and Brianna McQueen (9.2 ppg) have been vital for the Lady Bucs.
HAVING FUN IN THE A-SUN
The Lady Bucs have enjoyed a lot of success since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06 … since joining the league, the Lady Buccaneers have averaged 15 conference wins a year, including a league-best and school record 18-2 mark in 2009-10, three Atlantic Sun Tournament titles (2008-2010), and two regular season championships (2008 and 2010) …in total, ETSU is 103-42 (.710) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Lady Bucs have also won 83 of their last 115 games against conference foes (includes the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 A-Sun Tournaments).
Destiny Mitchell recorded 11 double-doubles in her rookie season and she finished the 2011-12 season with four consecutive double-doubles before going down with her knee injury against UNF on Feb. 12 … in those 11 games, Mitchell averaged 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.7 steals in 33.5 minutes of work, while also shooting 53 percent from the field (81-152)... Mitchell had 10 more double-doubles in 2011-12... after earning her first double-double of this season on Nov. 30 against Memphis (14 pts., 16 rebs.) and after posting three consecutive double-doubles at Kennesaw State (18 pts., 10 rebs.), at Mercer (17 pts., 13 rebs.) and vs. North Florida (12 pts. 14 rebs.), Mitchell now has 25 so far in her career.
75 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Since the 2002-03 season the Lady Bucs are 106-18 when the they hit the 75-point plateau, including 76-14 since the 2006-07 season... recently, ETSU put up 86 to defeat Lipscomb by 22 and earn the 106th such victory.
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