Senior forward Clark tallies fourth double-double of season
WILMINGTON, N.C. (Dec. 19, 2014) – In the opening game of the 2014 Seahawks Hampton Inn Christmas Invitational, the ETSU women’s basketball suffered a 61-48 defeat to host UNC Wilmington on Friday afternoon inside Trask Coliseum. In the loss, senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) posted her fourth double-double of the season with team highs of 11 points and 14 rebounds.
With the defeat, ETSU’s four-game win streak was snapped and its overall record was dropped to 7-5 on the season. Meanwhile, UNCW improved to 3-5 on the year and halted a five-game losing skid.
Riding their longest winning streak since 2011, the Bucs came out energized early. A quick five points from freshman Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) and a three-pointer from fellow guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) gave the Blue & Gold an 8-6 lead four minutes into the contest. Following, the Seahawks went on a 10-0 run to lead 18-8 with 10:15 left to play in the first half. Faced with a double-digit deficit in front of a raucous crowd, ETSU collected itself over the final half of the opening period to get within striking distance before halftime; outscoring UNCW 20-13 over the final 10 minutes. A late free throw conversion from junior guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) with only seconds remaining brought the score to 31-28 at the break.
After gaining momentum going into the locker room, the Bucs pulled within three – 33-30 – minutes into the second period on a Clark lay-in. With the Blue & Gold threatening with 13:34 to go, the Seahawks went on a 9-2 burst to take control of the game – 48-36 – with 10:24 remaining. Plagued by cold shooting throughout the second period, ETSU could not get anything going on offense to combat the growing deficit. As a result, the Bucs were unable to chip the deficit down to single digits over the duration of the contest. Late free throw conversions from the home team brought the final score 61-48.
Kelva Atkins led all scorers with 19 points and was joined in double-figures for UNCW by Shatia Cole and Amber Reeves each with 11. Meanwhile, in addition to Clark’s double-double, senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) added eight points and 13 rebounds while Tarter posted eight points – all in the first half.
The Seahawks did not shoot the ball from the field particularly well (35 percent), but made up for their misses with 22 offensive rebounds. In total, UNCW held a 51-40 advantage on the boards and also turned ETSU over 21 times resulting in 13 points. The host team also converted in the paint with 28 points.
Despite a few early makes, the Blue & Gold struggled to develop any rhythm on offense. For the game, the Bucs shot 32 percent from the floor and was only 3-of-16 from behind arc including zero makes in the second half. ETSU also got to the free throw 13 less times than its opponent and converted on only seven opportunities (7-of-13). The Blue & Gold did get 13 points from its bench including seven from Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) and six from Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) in her season debut.
The Bucs will continue action in the 2014 UNCW Seahawks Hampton Inn Christmas Invitational tomorrow with a matchup against Jacksonville State at noon inside Trask Coliseum.
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