Bucs search for their second all-time victory in Fort Myers and their first since 2009
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 8, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball team hits the road for its first conference road trip of the season beginning with a matchup against the preseason league favorite Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. inside Alico Arena. Live action will be available on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.
After beginning Atlantic Sun Conference play with a 78-75 victory over the Lipscomb Lady Bisons on Jan. 2, the Bucs were unable to push their winning streak to three games following a 73-63 loss to Northern Kentucky on Jan. 4. The Blue and Gold got behind early and took a 19-point deficit into halftime against NKU. Out of the break, ETSU showed some fire, scoring six of the first eight points of the second period. Intensity on both ends of the floor quickly became evident as the Bucs refused to go down without a fight. The Blue and Gold got to within as few as five points with 2:56 remaining but could not make enough plays down the stretch to top the Norse.
ETSU (5-8, 1-1) and FGCU (7-6, 1-0) will meet Thursday for the 13th all-time matchup between the two teams; a series that the Eagles lead 10-2 including eight-straight victories. In the most recent matchup on Feb. 11, 2013, FGCU bested the Bucs, 70-48, with ETSU being led by 14 points from Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.). The Blue and Gold’s lone victory in Fort Myers came on Jan. 8, 2009 when ETSU topped the Eagles, 75-67.
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.
MITCHELL TO MISS REMAINDER OF SEASON
As a result of a leg injury suffered in the first regular season game of the season at Memphis on Nov. 8, senior Destiny Mitchell will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign. Mitchell will undergo surgery and continue injury rehabilitation while the ETSU compliance department petitions for a medical redshirt to have the forward cleared to participate in 2014-15.
LAST TIME VS. FLORIDA GULF COAST
On Feb. 11, 2013, FGCU made ETSU pay for its 25 turnovers with 28 points off of these miscues in a 70-48 Blue and Gold defeat. After a strong start from the Bucs, the Eagles responded with a 33-16 run over the final 16 minutes of the period to take a 37-21 advantage into halftime. FGCU kept their foot on the gas in the second period, increasing its lead to as many as 28 points. Ultimately, the Eagles’ offensive onslaught and the Blue and Gold’s inability to get anything going on its offensive end proved to be too much for ETSU to overcome. The Bucs were led by 14 points from Bowling and got a boost from Maria Bond off of the bench with 12 points and seven rebounds.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in 10 of the 13 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 - 29th including a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds in a 82-65 win against Alabama A&M (11/29). The junior’s most recent double-double came in a 78-75 conference-opening win vs. Lipscomb (1/2) with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Clark has now exceeded her double-double total from last season just 13 games into the 2013-14 campaign with six this season and is poised for more throughout the year. The forward’s 12.7 points per game currently ranks 11th in the A-Sun, while her 11.2 boards per game ranks tied for second in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently the second-leading scorer on the team with 12.5 points per game to begin the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game is 12th in the A-Sun while her 2.0 three-point field goal makes per game is tied for fourth 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 13 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 at App State 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 an 87-76 win versus George Mason on Dec. 28, Christopher tallied a career-high tying 17 points including a career-best five makes from three-point land.
MCQUEEN DISHING IT OUT
Sophomore Brianna McQueen has been a strong lead guard for the Bucs to begin the 2013-14 season. Using her quickness, the Georgia native is averaging a solid 11.2 points per game at the point guard position and is also getting her teammates involved with 4.4 assists per game. This assist mark ranks third in the Atlantic Sun and will need to continue to keep ETSU’s offense near the top of the conference.
BUCS ON THE OFFENSIVE
Through 13 games to start the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 71.7 points per game which is second in the A-Sun. With the 71.7 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage, where the Bucs are second in the league at 43 percent, and in three-point field percentage, where ETSU is tops in the conference at 35 percent.
BOND BEGINS SEASON STRONG
After averaging 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 26 games and six starts in 2012-13, junior forward Maria Bond has proved to be a force in the interior to begin the 2013-14 campaign. The native Georgian has started 12 games this season and is currently averaging 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Bond posted a season-high 18 points in a 75-67 win versus Indiana State (12/18) and remains a vital piece in ETSU’s paint production going forward.
To begin the 2013-14 season, the Bucs are averaging roughly 30 points in the paint through 13 games including 36 in the season opener at Memphis (11/8). ETSU also registered 36 points in the paint in the home opener vs. Morehead State (11/21) as well as in home dates vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24), Indiana State (12/18) and Chattanooga (12/21). The Blue and Gold got a season-high 42 points in the paint in an 82-65 win versus Alabama A&M (11/29). Recently, the Bucs posted 40 points in the paint in a 78-75 conference-opening win vs. Lipscomb (1/2).
75 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Since the 2002-03 season the Bucs are 111-20 when the they hit the 75-point plateau, including 80-15 since the 2006-07 season. In the early portion of the 2013-14 season, ETSU put up 78 to defeat Lipscomb (1/2), 78-75, to earn the 111th such victory.
HAVING FUN IN THE A-SUN
The Bucs have enjoyed a lot of success since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06 … since joining the league, the Buccaneers have averaged double-digit 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 106-47 (.692) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Bucs have also won 86 of their last 123 games against conference foes (includes A-Sun Championship games).
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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