ETSU aims for first win against Spartans since Jan. 4, 2012
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 18, 2014) – Looking to snap a three-game losing skid, the ETSU women’s basketball team will continue Atlantic Sun action at home when it welcomes the USC Upstate Spartans to Brooks Gym on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The Buccaneers will return to action on Sunday after two losing efforts on the road last week against Sunshine State foes Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. In the most recent contest against Stetson on Jan. 11, the Blue and Gold dropped a 91-62 decision inside the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Fla. Against the Hatters, ETSU hung with SU for the first half of the opening period, trailing by only five points 10 minutes into the game. Stetson responded with a 16-0 run over the next seven minutes to gain a sizeable advantage and ended up taking a 45-24 lead into halftime.
Opening the second period, the Bucs did not quit and put together an 8-0 burst to cut the Hatters’ lead to 13, 45-32, with 17:06 left to play. Efforts by ETSU to trim its deficit to single digits were null after a 19-6 Stetson surge put the Hatters ahead, 76-49, with seven minutes to go. Over the duration of the contest, SU continued to pour it on to ultimately down the Blue and Gold, 91-62.
ETSU (5-10, 1-3) and USC Upstate (6-9, 1-3) will meet Sunday for the 13th all-time matchup between the two teams; a series that the Bucs lead 7-5. The Bucs and the Spartans met twice last season with Upstate prevailing in both. In the most recent matchup between the two squads on March 2, 2013, the Spartans topped the Blue and Gold, 60-56.
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 forward 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. USC UPSTATE
On March 2, 2013 in ETSU’s final regular season game of the 2012-13 season, the Bucs started the contest strong, leading by as many as 12 points with three minutes left in the opening period. The Spartans responded with a 9-2 burst to cut ETSU’s advantage to 26-21 at the break. Upstate carried the momentum over to the second half and scored the first five points of the period to tie the game, 26-26, with 19 minutes remaining. After back and forth play for much of the half, the Spartans compiled a 12-3 run to take a 51-46 advantage with 3:47 remaining. ETSU responded by cutting into the deficit, but late free throws down the stretch allowed Upstate to hang on, 60-56. ETSU was led by 12 points from Tiana Burley as well as nine points and a career-high 11 rebounds from Shawn Randall.
CLARK DOUBLES UP
Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in 10 of the 15 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 15 games into the 2013-14 campaign with six this season and is poised for more throughout the year. The forward’s 11.4 points per game currently ranks tied for 18th in the A-Sun, while her 10.3 boards per game ranks third in the league.
Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently leading scorer on the team with 12.7 points per game during 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 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 during 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 15 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 during the 2013-14 season. Using her quickness, the Georgia native is averaging a solid 11.9 points per game at the point guard position and is also getting her teammates involved with 4.2 assists per game. This assist mark ranks fourth 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 15 games during the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 70.1 points per game which is second in the A-Sun. With the 70.1 points per game also come successes in field goal percentage, where the Bucs are second in the league at 42 percent, and in three-point field percentage, where ETSU is third in the conference at 33 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 during the 2013-14 campaign. The native Georgian has started 13 games this season and is currently averaging 10.1 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 date in the 2013-14 season, the Bucs are averaging approximately 30 points in the paint through 15 games including 36 in the season opener at Memphis (11/8). ETSU registered 36 points in the paint in home dates vs Morehead State (11/21), Saint Francis (Pa.) (11/24), Indiana State (12/18) and Chattanooga (12/21) as well as in in a road conference matchup at FGCU (1/9). 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 106-49 (.684) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Bucs have also won 86 of their last 125 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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