ETSU to honor senior Tosha Austin before the game
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 2, 2013) – After clinching a berth in the Atlantic Sun Championship with a win at North Florida, ETSU aims to fine-tune in preparation for the conference tournament when it hosts the USC Upstate Spartans in the Lady Bucs’ final regular season contest of the year on Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. Tip time is set for 1:30 p.m.
With conference seeding still in flux until the completion of the final regular season game of the year on Saturday, the Lady Bucs (8-16, 6-11) currently sit seventh in the conference standings, with the USC Upstate Spartans (11-17, 7-10) slightly ahead of them in the fifth spot. A myriad of scenarios could play out depending on the outcome of each game over the weekend, but ETSU is in great position to avoid the dreaded eight seed which will have to face the league-leading Florida Gulf Coast Eagles who have already clinched the one seed with an unblemished 17-0 conference record. An ETSU win against Upstate could help improve the Lady Bucs’ seeding position and continue the momentum going into the conference tournament.
The matchup between the Lady Bucs and the Spartans will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two schools, a series in which ETSU leads with a 7-4 overall series advantage. ETSU and Upstate met earlier this season in Spartanburg, S.C. where the Spartans topped the Lady Bucs, 90-79. In this contest, Upstate started out hot from behind the arc, draining six first half trifectas and nailing 31-of-34 free throws en route to victory.
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 (8-16, 6-11) looked to leave the River City with a win when it faced the North Florida Ospreys inside UNF Arena. The first few minutes of the opening half were tightly played until the Lady Bucs went on a 13-0 to take a 20-9 advantage with 10:30 remaining in the period. Balanced scoring from the Blue and Gold and cold shooting from UNF carried ETSU into the break with a 33-22 advantage. Early in the second half, the Lady Bucs were able to increase their lead to as many as 14 points before a burst from the Ospreys to make things interesting. As UNF inched closer late, Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) drained two huge three-pointers to keep North Florida at bay. Critical late turnovers from North Florida and clutch free throws down the stetch from ETSU sealed the game in the Lady Bucs’ favor, 65-60.
LADY BUCS VS. USC UPSTATE
Saturday’s contest inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two teams, a series in which ETSU holds a 7-4 overall series advantage. The Lady Bucs and the Spartans met earlier this season, on Jan. 2, when Upstate topped ETSU, 90-79. In this recent matchup, ETSU began Atlantic Sun play with a trip to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on the USC Upstate Spartans inside the Hodge Center. The Lady Bucs took an early lead on their first offensive possession, but Upstate quickly started their hot shooting from three-point range. The Spartans knocked down six first half trifectas and took a 38-26 advantage going into the half. To begin the second half, ETSU again got a quick bucket, but Upstate responded by continuing to knock down outside shots and getting to the free throw line. When it looked like the rout was on as the half wound down, the Lady Bucs did not quit and cut a then 28-point deficit down to as few as nine with under five minutes remaining. Ultimately the once large deficit proved too much to overcome and ETSU fell, 90-79.
SENIOR DAY FOR AUSTIN
Lone ETSU senior Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will be honored before the game during Senior Day ceremonies. The soon to be four-year letterwinner was part of the 2010 Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament champion ETSU team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Austin currently has scored 296 career points and her 127 blocks is tied for 14th most all-time in Atlantic Sun women’s basketball history.
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 12.6 points per game, including two made three-pointers per game. The sharpshooter scored a career-high 21 points, featuring an also career-high five made three-pointers, in a 65-60 win at North Florida.
The Lady Bucs have recently discovered the most offensive production through points in the paint. ETSU is currently averaging 31 points in the paint per game, including an average of 34 points in its last five. In a loss at Jacksonville, the Blue and Gold recorded 54 points in the paint, the most since scoring 50 against Jacksonville earlier this season on Jan. 28 in Johnson City.
The Blue and Gold have outrebounded the opposition in 18 of the 24 games this season and enter Saturday’s game with a plus-6.1 rebounding margin (43.8-37.8), 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-6.1 rebound margin currently ranks in the top 30 nationally. ETSU also outrebounds its A-Sun opponents at a plus-7.1 clip.
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 performance with another double-double against Stetson with 20 points and 12 rebounds and recently scored a season-high tying 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 69-65 win vs. Kennesaw State. Burley is currently averaging 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game 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), at Kennesaw State (18 points), vs. KSU (10 points) and at Jacksonville (17 points). Randall is currently averaging 8.8 points per game in Atlantic Sun action.
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 1.2 blocks per game which ranks in the top five individually in the league. Austin also currently ranks tied for 14th all-time in blocked shots in Atlantic Sun history with 127 rejections.
MITCHELL’S HOT START
Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) has scored in double figures in 10 out of the 21 games she has played in this season and is averaging 11.2 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 11th in the A-Sun in scoring (11.2), second in rebounding (8.1), sixth in steals (2.0) and fourth in field goal percentage (49.7).
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 24 games of the 2012-13 season she has scored 236 to move her career total to 950 .. 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 (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has really turned it on when it comes to Atlantic Sun action. Through the first 17 games of league play, Clark is averaging 8.2 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. Another double-double was added to her total when she recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds at Jacksonville.
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 82-40 (.672) 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 on Nov. 30. Key reserves Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) (6.7 ppg) and Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) (8.7 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 105-44 (.705) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Lady Bucs have also won 85 of their last 119 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 106-19 when the they hit the 75-point plateau, including 76-15 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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