Buccaneers aim to recover after an uninspired effort Sunday against Western Carolina
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 2, 2013) – The ETSU women’s basketball team will look to shake off a closely-contested, 58-56, loss on Sunday at Western Carolina when they travel to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. EST inside Memorial Gymnasium.
Sluggish play from the Buccaneers on Sunday proved costly as the Western Carolina Catamounts made a few plays late to hang on and top the Blue and Gold, 58-56. WCU’s bench outscored the Bucs’ 41-19 and ETSU’s struggle to find any offensive consistency was too much to overcome. The Blue and Gold did feature 10 players in the scoring column but their leading scorers both only registered 10 points each.
The matchup with Vanderbilt will be the sixth all-time meeting between the two teams, a series that the Commodores lead with a 3-2 advantage. The Commodores have won three-straight versus ETSU including the most recent matchup when Vanderbilt bested the Bucs, 96-83, on Dec. 28, 2009.
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.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in five of the six games this season. After falling just one rebound short of a double-double in the season opener at Memphis (11/8), the native Georgian reeled off four-consecutive double-doubles for ETSU in games from Nov. 12th thru the 29th. The most recent performance came versus Alabama A&M (11/29) when the junior posted a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in an 82-65 win. Clark has now exceeded her double-double total from last season just five games into the 2013-14 campaign and seems poised for more throughout the season. Her 12.2 points per game currently ranks among the top-20 in the A-Sun, while her 11.7 boards per game ranks second in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently averaging a team-leading 13.7 points per game for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game is tied for ninth in the A-Sun and her 2.0 three-point field goal makes per game stands tied for fifth in the league. The Elizabethton native posted a career-high 22 points vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24) including four makes from behind the arc.
FROM WALK-ON TO STARTER
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 six 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.
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 35 points in the paint through six games including 36 in the season opener at Memphis (11/8), in the home opener vs. Morehead State (11/21) and in a home date vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24). The Blue and Gold got a season-high 42 points in the paint in an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29).
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. In an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29) the Blue and Gold dominated the Bulldogs, 43-29, on the boards. The Bucs’ current +2.8 rebound margin ranks third in the A-Sun.
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through six games to begin the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 73.5 points per game which is first in the A-Sun. With the 73.5 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage and three-point field percentage where the Bucs are leading the league at 43 and 34 percent, respectively.
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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