ETSU scores 80-plus for second time this season behind four double-digit scorers
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 17, 2014) – After leading by a second-half-high 13 points with five minutes to play, the ETSU women’s basketball team survived a late comeback from High Point to come away victorious, 84-76, on Monday evening inside Brooks Gym in its regular season home opener.
With the win, ETSU moves to 2-0 to begin the season while High Point drops to 1-1. The Bucs’ 2-0 record to start the season is the first time the team has been unblemished through two games since the 2010-11 season.
The Bucs’ hot offensive hand from Friday’s 81-68 win at UNC Asheville carried over to Monday with the team putting up half of a hundred in the opening period. The half did not quite start out favorably for the home team, though. ETSU fell behind briefly, 5-2, with 17:25 left in the period, but quickly found its flow on offense. Without the services of senior post players Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) and Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) for much of the first half due to foul trouble, the Blue & Gold leaned on sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) for offensive production. Bridges responded with 13 points in the half including three three-pointers. Paced by the sophomore, the Bucs increased its lead to as many as 20 with 6:33 to go in the period. High Point answered the sizable deficit with a 13-7 surge over the final six minutes to go into halftime trailing, 50-36.
The Panthers came out of the break energized and quickly mounted a comeback. A 15-6 HPU run over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half shrunk ETSU’s advantage to only five points, 56-51. A Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) jumper with 12:04 to go brought the Bucs’ advantage back up above double-digits to 11, 64-53, and the team kept a firm hold on the lead up until the three-minute mark. A pair of free throws from the Panthers’ Stacia Robertson with 1:28 left to play brought the game to the closest it had been since the 15 minute mark of the first half; 76-72. With 1:11 to go, the player who had set the offensive tone for the Bucs on the night – Bridges – buried a huge triple off of a Christopher assist to allow ETSU to pull ahead by seven. A couple of late free throws and a late bucket from Clark allowed the Blue & Gold to hold on for an 84-76 win.
The Blue & Gold featured four players in double-figures, led by a career-high 22 points from Bridges. Also in the win, freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) added her first-career double-double with 15 point and 12 rebounds while Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) and Christopher contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. For HPU, Stacia Robertson recorded game highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds.
ETSU shot 46 percent from the field for the game and made 23 free throws in a matchup that featured 52 total fouls. The Bucs also converted 19 HPU turnovers into 20 points and turned 15 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points. With starters in foul trouble, the Blue & Gold got a contribution of 23 points from its bench which proved to be very valuable.
The Panthers hit from the field at a 47 percent clip and were strong in the paint with 46 points. HPU struggled behind the arc with only two makes (2-of-18), but did get 26 points from its reserves.
The Bucs will continue home non-conference play on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. when they welcome Appalachian State to Brooks Gym.
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