Lady Bucs hope to bounce back after heartbreaking loss at Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2013) – After dropping an overtime heartbreaker at Jacksonville a few days prior, ETSU looks to put this loss behind it and continue its preparation for the Atlantic Sun Championship when it faces the North Florida Ospreys on Monday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. inside UNF Arena.
Getting the bad taste of their mouths will be a tough, but necessary, challenge for the Lady Bucs who let one get away inside Veterans Memorial Arena. Though the narrative was a disappointing one, a few bright sides were present on the offensive end of the contest for ETSU with a season-high 54 points in the paint and the presence of four double-figure scorers for only the third time this season. To find success against North Florida, the Blue and Gold must take better care of the ball after committing 24 miscues against Jacksonville, as well as play cleaner defense after letting the Dolphins get to the free throw a season-high 47 times.
The matchup between the Lady Bucs and the Ospreys will be the 16th all-time meeting between the two schools, a series in which ETSU leads with a 10-5 overall series advantage. ETSU and UNF met earlier this season in Johnson City where the Ospreys topped the Lady Bucs, 62-56. In this recent contest, the Blue and Gold unsuccessfully relied on the outside shot and saw UNF go on a 9-5 burst in the final 2:30 to seal the game.
For more on Monday’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 (7-16, 5-11) looked to build off of its recent win over Kennesaw State when it faced the Jacksonville Dolphins. The Lady Bucs started the game off with turnover after turnover but were able to build up an 11-4 advantage before the first media timeout due to dominance in the paint and on the boards. JU followed with an 8-1 run to take a one-point lead midway through the half and continued the burst to take its largest lead of seven points. ETSU answered this Dolphins’ burst with four, unanswered buckets to take back the lead, 26-25. The next seven minutes featured back-and-forth action, with each team answering the other. A drained three-pointer at the buzzer by Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) brought the Lady Bucs into the break with a 35-33 advantage. Through the early portion of the second half, ETSU kept JU at bay with a small advantage until the Dolphins took the lead, 47-45, on a pair of made free throws with 13:12 to go. The remainder of the half featured multiple ties and lead changes leading up to the final seconds. Jacksonville sported a three-point lead with 7.2 seconds remaining but turned the ball over to ETSU on the inbound, giving the possession to the Lady Bucs. With the clock winding down, Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) nailed a trifecta to send the game into overtime. When it appeared the Blue and Gold had the momentum going into the extra period, the Dolphins squashed any ETSU momentum by scoring the first nine points of overtime which proved to be too much of a deficit for the Lady Bucs to handle as they dropped a 90-81 decision. ETSU was led by a career-high 17 points, along with eight rebounds, from Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.).
LADY BUCS VS. NORTH FLORIDA
Monday’s contest in Jacksonville will be the 16th all-time meeting between the two teams, a series in which ETSU leads with a 10-5 overall series advantage. The Lady Bucs and the Ospreys met earlier this season on Jan. 26 when UNF topped ETSU, 62-56. In this recent matchup, ETSU looked to gain their first home victory in almost two months when they welcomed the North Florida Ospreys to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. In the first half, the Lady Bucs relied way too much on the three-point shot, firing up 13 attempts and making only one. This reliance, and the inability to get anything going from the field, resulted in a 29-18 deficit at the break. In the second stanza, ETSU used a combination of attacking the basket and finally getting some triples to fall. The Blue and Gold took the lead with four minutes remaining, but settling for threes proved costly as the Lady Bucs went cold, while the Ospreys closed the game with a nine to five run in the final 2:30, sealing the game, 62-56. Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) notched her third straight double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
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 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds for ETSU.
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 35 points in its past five. In a loss at Jacksonville, the Blue and Gold recorded 54 points in the paint, the most since scoring 50 points in the paint in a win against Jacksonville earlier this season in Johnson City.
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), at Kennesaw State (18 points) and at Jacksonville (17 points). Randall is currently averaging 8.9 points per game in Atlantic Sun action.
The Blue and Gold have outrebounded the opposition in 18 of the 23 games this season and enter Monday’s game with a plus-6.6 rebounding margin (43.7-37.2), ranking first in the A-Sun … in its game at Morehead State, ETSU outrebounded the Eagles by 20, 46-26 … the Lady Bucs’ plus-6.6 rebound margin currently ranks in the top 30 nationally.
After being inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season against North Florida on Jan. 26, sophomore guard Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) 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 10.4 points per game, including a season-high tying 15 points vs. Northern Kentucky on Feb. 4. Most recently, the sophomore guard scored 13 points, including three made three-pointers, at Jacksonville.
Currently the Lady Bucs are averaging 5.4 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.) 1.2 blocks per game which ranks in the top five individually in the league. Austin also currently ranks 15th all-time in blocked shots in Atlantic Sun history with 126 rejections.
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 16 games of league play, Clark is averaging 8.8 points and 7.9 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. Clark also registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds at Jacksonville.
MITCHELL’S PURSUIT TO THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) 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 23 games of the 2012-13 season she has scored 227 to move her career total to 941 .. 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.
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 81-40 (.669) 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 roughly 25 bench points per game, including a season-high 44 points off the bench against Memphis. Key reserves Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) (6.5 ppg) and Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) (8.8 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 104-44 (.703) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Lady Bucs have also won 84 of their last 118 games against conference foes (includes the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 A-Sun Tournaments).
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