Bucs aim to get back on track Thursday vs. Kennesaw State
ETSU welcomes the Kennesaw State Owls on Thursday at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center.
Bucs aim to get back on track Thursday vs. Kennesaw State
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ETSU holds a 14-1 all-time series advantage against the Owls

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball team will look to recover from Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to USC Upstate when it hosts the Kennesaw State Owls on Thursday at 4 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. The matchup is the first game of a women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader on Thursday.

The Buccaneers will return to the Dome on Thursday and hope to relieve the sting of Sunday’s last-second loss to USC Upstate. Against the Spartans, after a tightly-contested first half, the Blue and Gold started out the second period strong. ETSU built up an 11-point advantage, 56-45, with 8:14 to go, but proceeded to go scoreless for nearly four minutes. This Bucs’ scoring drought allowed Upstate to chip away at its deficit resulting in an only one-point ETSU lead with under a minute to play. A missed scoring opportunity by the Blue and Gold with 11 seconds remaining allowed the Spartans one final chance on offense. Upstate responded by converting a driving lay-in with two seconds left to ultimately down the Bucs, 63-62. ETSU had three players in double figures highlighted by a season-high 13 points from Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.).

ETSU (5-11, 1-4) and Kennesaw State (4-13, 2-4) will meet Sunday for the 16th all-time matchup between the two teams; a series that the Bucs dominate, 14-1. KSU’s only win against ETSU took place in Kennesaw, Ga. on Feb. 4, 2012 in a 78-68 Owls’ triumph. The Bucs and the Owls met twice last season with the Blue and Gold prevailing in both. In the most recent matchup between the two squads, on Feb. 18, 2013 in Johnson City, the Bucs topped KSU, 69-65.

For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below. For more on ETSU women’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link.


Game Notes



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.



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.



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.



On Feb. 18, 2013, inside the Dome in Johnson City, the hot-shooting Owls built up a 16-point lead, 27-11, with 10:45 remaining in the opening period. The Bucs then responded with a 22-9 run over the final 10 minutes of the half to reduce their deficit to 36-33 before the break. After KSU increased its lead to as many as seven points minutes into the second period, ETSU answered with an 11-3 surge to take a 44-43 advantage with 14:14 remaining. Following back-and-forth play and a quick 6-0 burst from the Blue and Gold with six minutes left, the Owls’ advances were matched by clutch shots and free throws down the stretch by the Bucs to allow ETSU to hang on for the win, 69-65. The Blue and Gold was led by a team-high 22 points, as well as nine rebounds, from Tiana Burley.



Junior forward Serena Clark has started 2013-14 off strong, scoring in double-figures in 10 of the 16 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 16 games into the 2013-14 campaign with six this season and is poised for more throughout the year. The forward’s 11.2 points per game currently ranks 18th in the A-Sun, while her 10.6 boards per game ranks third in the league.



Junior guard Cara Bowling is currently the leading scorer on the team with 12.7 points per game during the 2013-14 season. Presently, this point total per game is 13th in the A-Sun while her 2.0 three-point field goal makes per game is tied for third 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.



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 16 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.



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 4.0 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.   



Through 16 games during the 2013-14 season, ETSU is currently averaging 69.6 points per game which is second in the A-Sun. With the 69.6 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 32 percent.



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 14 games this season and is currently averaging 10.2 points and 4.2 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 nearly 30 points in the paint through 16 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).



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.



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 106-50 (.679) against conference foes since moving into the A-Sun … the Bucs have also won 86 of their last 126 games against conference foes (includes A-Sun Championship games).



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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