ETSU hopes to get back to winning ways following lengthy holiday break
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 28, 2014) – After breaking for more than a week for the holidays, the ETSU women’s basketball team will jump right back into non-conference action when it welcomes the Iona Gaels to Brooks Gym on Monday evening at 7 p.m.
The matchup will be the first all-time meeting between the two teams.
Looking to snap a two-game losing skid, the Bucs (7-6) will enter competition Monday following a tough, 57-56 loss to Jacksonville State on Dec. 20 in ETSU’s final game in the UNCW Seahawks Hampton Inn Christmas Invitational. In the defeat, the Blue & Gold led the Gamecocks for the vast majority of the contest before JSU took its first lead – 50-49 -- since the 17 minute mark of the first half on a jumper with 4:43 left to play. Jacksonville State increased its lead to four but ETSU answered to pull within two with 1:27 to go. Missed conversion by both teams on offense over the next minute forced the Blue & Gold to send JSU to the free throw line down the stretch where it unfortunately converted. With the game virtually decided after a pair of Gamecock free throws, freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) knocked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to bring the final score to 57-56. In total, Tarter scored a game and season-high 26 points which ties for the most this season by an ETSU player.
Iona (4-6), too, will aim to bounce back from a tough loss more than a week ago. On Dec. 20, the Gaels dropped a 66-58 home decision to nationally-ranked Rutgers inside the Hynes Athletics Center. After a 15-6 run, the Gaels went into halftime trailing by only one – 28-27 – after previously facing a double-digit deficit. Iona kept it close well into the second period, trailing 51-59 with seven minutes remaining, but a Scarlet Knights’ surge down the stretch resulted in a 66-58 Gaels defeat. Iona was paced by a game-high 22 points from senior guard Damika Martinez. This preseason, the Gaels were picked to finish third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) by the league’s head coaches and Martinez was also selected unanimously as MAAC Preseason Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season. Junior forward Joy Adams was also a Preseason All-MAAC First Team selection.
ETSU remains as the Southern Conference’s highest-scoring team with 72.5 points per game. The Bucs are also shooting an efficient 44 percent from the field – good for tops in the league – and are holding opponents to a SoCon-best 25 percent shooting behind the arc. The Blue & Gold is also blocking shots at a 4.2 per game rate which is second in the conference and holds a third-best in the league +0.5 rebound margin.
Four of ETSU’s five starters are averaging double-figures; highlighted by sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges’ (Miramar, Fla.) 14.2 points per contest. Bridges’ points-per-game average ranks fourth-best in the league and her 3.1 three-point makes per game is best in the conference. In addition, senior forward Destiny Mitchell’s (Bluffton, Ga.) 9.3 rebounds per contest – including 4.1 offensive boards per -- is second in the SoCon and Tarter’s 3.6 assists per contest ranks third in the league. Additionally, Mitchell and senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) rank two-three in the SoCon in field goal percentage at 55 and 54 percent, respectively.
For more information on ETSU women’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link. Season tickets can be purchased here. Follow along with the Bucs on social media with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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