Bucs to open home slate vs. Morehead State at Freedom Hall
Bucs to open home slate vs. Morehead State at Freedom Hall
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First and only game this season the ETSU women will play at Freedom Hall as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2013) – After two good tests on the road to begin the 2013-14 season, the ETSU women’s basketball team returns to Johnson City for its home opener against Morehead State on Thursday evening at 4:45 p.m. as part of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase. The women’s game is part of a Thursday night doubleheader with the men who are set to tip at 7 p.m.

Following a tough overtime loss to begin the year at Memphis, the Bucs managed to get back on track in Boone, N.C. with an 81-72 win versus Appalachian State on Tuesday, Nov. 12. After four ties and three lead changes, clutch free throws down the stretch by a number of Buccaneers allowed the Buccaneers to hold on for their first victory of the season.

Despite being down two starters due to injury and disciplinary action, ETSU got good production from a pair of east Tennessee natives. In her second-career start, Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) recorded career-highs in points (17), assists (4) and minutes played (37). Matching Christopher in the scoring column was Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) who aided her 17-point effort by knocking down two three-pointers and five free throws.

The matchup with Morehead State is the ninth all-time meeting between the two schools in a series that is deadlocked at four games apiece. The Bucs and the Eagles met last season on Dec. 2 in Morehead, Ky. where ETSU topped the MSU, 57-53.

More information about the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase can be found here.

For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below. For more on ETSU women’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link.


Game Notes



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 Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.



The ETSU Buccaneers enter the 2013-14 season under the guidance of first-year head coach. Brittney Ezell.  A two-sport star in basketball and softball at the University of Alabama, Ezell comes to ETSU after spending three seasons as head coach at Belmont University where she compiled a 41-52 overall record. The Franklin, Tenn. native takes the reigns of a veteran-heavy team that returns nine letterwinners from an 8-18 overall 2012-13 campaign. Among the nine returnees are six players who started 10 or more games last season.  Highlighted among the returnees is last year’s team-leading scorer and rebounder Destiny Mitchell who led the way with 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Supporting Mitchell are juniors Serena Clark and Cara Bowling who each averaged 9.5 points per game last season.


BUCS VS. Morehead state

Thursday’s contest inside the Freedom Hall Civic Center will be the Bucs’ regular season home opener and will be the ninth all-time meeting between the two teams, a series which is tied at four wins apiece. The Bucs and the Eagles met last season when ETSU bested Morehead State, 57-53, on Dec. 2 in Morehead, Ky. In this meeting despite turning the ball over 29 times, the Bucs went 23-of-27 from the free throw line and outrebounded the Eagles by 20 en route to ETSU’s second victory of the 2012-13 season. Destiny Mitchell led the team with 15 points to go along with six rebounds and a team-high three steals. Shawn Randall and Maria Bond also pitched in double-figure scoring performances with 11 and 10 points, respectively.



Sophomore guard Chandler Christopher has proved to be a valuable piece for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. After spending the entirety of the 2012-13 campaign as a seldom-used freshman walk-on, first-year head coach Brittney Ezell liked what she saw from Christopher and decided to elevate the Greeneville native from walk-on to scholarship status prior to this season. Christopher has since recorded her first-career starts in each of the first two games of this season and has been a vital cog for the Blue and Gold. After netting two points, five rebounds and three assists in the opener at Memphis (11/8), the guard followed with career-highs of 17 points and four assists in an also career-best 37 minutes played in ETSU’s 81-72 win at Appalachian State (11/12). Christopher’s performance in the Bucs’ first win of the season led to her being named A-Sun Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Monday, Nov. 18.



Through two games to begin the 2013-14 season, ETSU is averaging 77.5 points per game which is tops in the A-Sun. With the 77.5 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage and three-point field percentage where the Bucs are also leading the league at 45 and 42 percent, respectively.



In 2012-13, the Bucs discovered the most offensive production through points in the paint. ETSU averaged roughly 30 points in the paint per game, including an average of 30 points in its last six. 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. To begin the 2013-14 season, the Bucs are averaging 33 points in the paint through two games including 36 in the opener at Memphis (11/8) and 30 in the win at Appalachian State (11/12).



The Blue and Gold outrebounded the opposition in 20 of the 26 games last season and held a plus-6.0 rebounding margin, ranking first in the A-Sun … in a loss at FGCU, the Bucs outrebounded the Eagles by 20, 53-33. The Bucs’ plus-6.0 rebound margin ranked among the top 30 nationally. To start the 2013-14 campaign, ETSU outrebounded the Memphis Tigers 47-44 in a 77-74 overtime loss on Nov. 8 and boarded evenly with the Appalachian State at 40 in the Bucs’ 81-72 win in Boone, N.C. on Nov. 12.


Veteran presence

The ETSU Buccaneers feature nine returning letterwinners and six players who started 10 or more games last season. Among these returnees are two seniors, five juniors and two sophomores. The returning juniors and seniors accounted for 77 percent of the scoring and 68 percent of the rebounds in 2012-13. Seniors Shawn Randall and Destiny Mitchell alone accounted for nearly 30 percent of the scoring last season and ranked second and third on the team in total minutes played, respectively.



ETSU welcomes three new players for the 2013-14 season. The guard-heavy class features one early signee and two late signees that will try to help bolster the backcourt for the Bucs.  Shamauria Bridges signed early with ETSU last season out of Miramar, Fla. and Hollywood Christian School. The 5-foot-7 southpaw was part of the Florida 2A state champion runner-up Hollywood Christian team in 2012. Jasmine Hotchkins - the first signing of the Ezell era - comes to ETSU from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix where she averaged four points and 1.2 assists per game for the 2013 Arizona Division I state runner-up and 32-3 overall Pinnacle Pioneers. Final signee Adriane Vaughan out of Midlothian, Va. and Cosby High School scored 1,021 points during her prep career as a Titan. She was also a first-team all-district selection, second-team all-region and third-team all-metro pick during her senior season.



The Atlantic Sun coaches picked the Bucs to finish tied with North Florida at fifth, while in the media poll ETSU was selected seventh ... the coaches picked FGCU with seven first-place votes to win the conference, while the media selected FGCU with 30 first-place votes ... the Bucs finished the 2012-13 season in eighth.


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