LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2013) – The ETSU women’s basketball team hung with the No. 5/6 Kentucky Wildcats for much of the contest Sunday afternoon, but the inability by the Bucs to shrink their deficit to single digits in the second period was costly as UK pulled ahead to a 73-56 victory inside Memorial Coliseum.
With the loss ETSU drops to 2-6 overall, while Kentucky improves to 11-0 on the season.
As they did in their last outing at Vanderbilt on Dec. 3, the Bucs came out hot from the field. In the first four minutes of the game, ETSU knocked down three three-pointers and went into the under-16 media timeout deadlocked with Kentucky at 11. Additionally, in the early-going, ETSU foul trouble led to the Wildcats getting into the bonus with more than half of the period remaining. From the 11:59 to 7:20 marks, UK went on a 14-4 run to grab control of the half. The inability by the Blue and Gold to take advantage of opportunities at the free throw line and allowing too many points in the paint and points off turnovers by the Wildcats sent ETSU into the break trailing 49-29.
Facing a sizeable deficit to begin the second period, the Bucs came out energized. Sophomore guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) opened the half with a pair of three-pointers to cut into the deficit. ETSU then trimmed UK’s lead down to 10 points, 54-44, on a Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) jumper in the lane with 13:39 left. After advances from the Wildcats, the Bucs responded by keeping the game within 10 points in two additional instances. Around the nine-minute mark, ETSU had multiple chances to get the game within single-digits but came up just short. An eight minute scoring drought did the Bucs no favors in trying to close the gap as UK widened its lead for the duration of the half. A couple of late baskets by ETSU brought the score to 73-56 at the final buzzer.
The Wildcats featured three double-figure scorers including 12 points from both Samarie Walker and Janee Thompson as well as 10 from Linnae Harper. Meanwhile, for ETSU, Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) added a season and game-high 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Joining Bond in double-figures for the Bucs was Christopher who pitched in 11 points in 35 minutes of play.
The usual high-scoring Kentucky Wildcats were held to only 73 points on 45 percent shooting. UK struggled from behind the arc, knocking down only 2-of-9 attempts, and also from the charity stripe where it made only 45 percent of it tries. The Wildcats did their damages with 27 points off of 25 ETSU miscues as well as in the paint where they held a 44-24 scoring advantage. UK reserves also pitched in 32 points compared to only nine for the Bucs and dominated the boards with a 47-32 advantage.
Shooting only 37 percent from the floor, ETSU was unable to find the bottom of the net for much of the second half. To counter UK’s struggles from downtown, the Blue and Gold was able to connect on six trifectas which allowed it to stay in the game. Struggles from the free throw line (12-of-22) came back to bite the Bucs in the end when points were at a premium.
The Bucs will return home to face the Indiana State Sycamores on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center.
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