First meeting between the two teams since 1996
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 23, 2013) – After falling in its home opener at Freedom Hall to Morehead State, 77-69, the ETSU women’s basketball team (1-2) will look to get back on track versus St. Francis (Pa.) (0-3) on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
The start of the Buccaneers’ 2013-14 home slate didn’t go as planned as ETSU dropped a tough 77-69 decision to the Morehead State Eagles on Thursday evening inside Freedom Hall. Twenty-four MSU points off of 16 ETSU turnovers turned out to be the difference in the game and one that the Bucs could not recover from.
In the loss, the Blue and Gold did get good individual performances from Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) who notched her second-consecutive team-leading scoring performance with 15 points, while Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) tallied her second-straight double-double with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
ETSU welcomes an unfamiliar foe in the St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash on Sunday inside Brooks Gym. The two teams have faced off only once in each of their histories; a 74-72 ETSU win at St. Francis on Dec. 18, 1996.
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 Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
ETSU ENTERS INTO EZELL ERA
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.
FROM WALK-ON TO VITAL COG
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 three 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. The sophomore then added another team-leading scoring performance to her résumé with 15 points in a 77-69 loss to Morehead State on Nov. 21.
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through three games to begin the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 74.7 points per game which is tied for second in the A-Sun. With the 74.7 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage and three-point field percentage where the Bucs are leading the league at 47 and 40 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 34 points in the paint through three games including 36 in both the season opener at Memphis (11/8) and the home opener vs. Morehead State (11/21).
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. The Bucs also outrebounded the Morehead State Eagles, 36-27, in a 77-69 loss on Nov. 21.
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.
MEET THE NEWCOMERS
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.
BUCS PICKED MIDDLE OF THE PACK
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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