Face Stetson on Wednesday evening in quarterfinals
MACON, Ga. (March 6, 2013) – As ETSU head coach Karen Kemp said in her postgame press conference following the recent loss to USC Upstate, the conference tournament signifies the start of a “new season” and the No. 7 seed Lady Bucs will begin this new season in an Atlantic Sun Championship quarterfinal matchup with the No. 2 seed Stetson Hatters on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Macon, Ga. inside Hawkins Arena.
A variety of events turned Saturday’s loss to Upstate into a disappointing effort and was not the way the Blue and Gold wanted to end the regular season. The good news is that the Lady Bucs can put this game behind them and focus on another opportunity to revive their season. ETSU will look to do so against a team that it stacks up well against and is very beatable. Topping the Hatters will be even more of a challenge though for the Lady Bucs who will be without sophomore center Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) who must sit out this contest due to the flagrant-two foul call she was issued late in the contest versus Upstate. In two meetings with Stetson this season, Burley has averaged 12 points per game, including a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds in the most recent matchup. In a season that has been full of adverse situations, this circumstance offers yet another opportunity for fellow Lady Bucs to step up to help supplement for this loss of production.
The matchup between the Lady Bucs and the Hatters will be the 18th all-time meeting between the two schools, a series in which ETSU leads with a 13-4 overall series advantage. ETSU and Stetson have met twice this season, with the most recent contest being a 74-65 loss on Feb. 9 in DeLand, Fla. The Lady Bucs fared well in the first half before Stetson put together a second half run that put ETSU away. The Blue and Gold got a strong contribution from Burley, but had the services of a severely-limited Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) who was still hobbled from an injury suffered a few games prior.
For more on Wednesday’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 (8-17, 6-12) aimed to end the regular season with a win when they welcomed the USC Upstate Spartans to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center on Senior Day. The Lady Bucs started the game strong with a 10-3 spurt before the first media timeout. The Spartans did themselves no favors by going frigid from the field and by not matching ETSU’s intensity on the glass. The Lady Bucs built their lead up to as many as 12 points with three minutes remaining, but a 9-2 Upstate run cut this advantage to 26-21 at the break. The Spartans carried the momentum over to the second half and scored the first five points of the period to tie the game at 26. After ETSU built up a four point lead, Upstate responded with a 12-3 streak to take a 51-46 lead with 3:47 remaining and hung on to defeat the Lady Bucs, 60-56.
LADY BUCS VS. STETSON
Wednesday’s contest inside Hawkins Arena will be the 18th all-time meeting between the two teams, a series in which ETSU holds a 13-4 overall series advantage. The Lady Bucs and the Hatters met twice this season, with the most recent matchup being on Feb. 9, when Stetson swept the regular season series with a 74-65 victory. In this meeting, ETSU faced a hot Stetson Hatters squad who raced out to an early lead, primarily off of fast break points and points off turnovers. The Lady Bucs finally were able to get something going with points in the paint and nailing a few triples. The Blue and Gold was able to tie the game with 10 minutes remaining, but Stetson stormed back with a 20-0 run over the next seven minutes and a 25-5 streak to end the half, taking a 44-24 advantage into the break. The Lady Bucs used a 9-2 run of their own over the first four minutes of the second period to inch closer. SU responded and kept ETSU at bay with a double-digit deficit for most of the half, with the closest being 10 points at the 7:29 mark. Late baskets for ETSU proved to be too little, too late as they dropped a 74-65 decision to the Hatters. The Blue and Gold received another strong performance from forward Tiana Burley who notched her third double-double in the past four games with game-highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds. The Lady Bucs had only one extra double-digit scorer with 10 points from Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.).
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 11.2 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 30 points in the paint per game, including an average of 33 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 19 of the 25 games this season and enter Saturday’s game with a plus-6.0 rebounding margin (43.9-37.9), 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-6.0 rebound margin currently ranks in the top 30 nationally. ETSU also outrebounds its A-Sun opponents at a plus-6.9 clip.
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.
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 is currently ninth in the A-Sun in free throw shooting at 73.9 percent.
Currently the Lady Bucs are averaging 5.5 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 tied for 13th all-time in blocked shots in Atlantic Sun history with 128 rejections.
MITCHELL’S HOT START
Destiny Mitchell has scored in double figures in 10 out of the 22 games she has played in this season and is averaging 11.0 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 13th in the A-Sun in scoring (11.0), second in rebounding (8.1), sixth in steals (1.9) and fifth in field goal percentage (49.5).
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 ... Before being slowed by injury in the final third of the regular season, she was 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 25 games of the 2012-13 season she has scored 241 to move her career total to 955 .. 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 18 games of league play, Clark is averaging 8.2 points and 7.4 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. An additional 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 82-41 (.667) in the months of January through March, including a program-best 19-3 mark in 2009-10.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH
Through the duration 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.) (6.6 ppg) and Brianna McQueen (8.6 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 105-45 (.700) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Lady Bucs have also won 85 of their last 120 games against conference foes (includes the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 A-Sun Tournaments).
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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