Bucs start second half with 23-2 run; shoot a blistering 74 percent from field in final period
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2014) – After going into halftime trailing 42-32, the ETSU women’s basketball team stormed out of the break to start the second half with a 23-2 surge which ultimately propelled it to a 76-64 victory over the Iona Gaels on Monday evening inside Brooks Gym.
With the win, ETSU snaps a two-game losing skid and improves to 8-6 on the season while Iona drops to 4-7 on the year.
The Blue & Gold was clicking on all cylinders offensively in the second half including being incredibly efficient with 17-of-23 makes (74 percent) from the field on 11 assists. The second-half flurry started with a quick 5-0 ETSU run followed by a jumper from Iona’s Damika Martinez. Over the next seven minutes, the Bucs held the Gaels without a point while scoring 18 to take control of the game, 55-44, with 11 minutes left to play. Facing a sizeable deficit, the visitors did not go away, though, and cut the ETSU lead to five, 62-57, on a 9-2 rally which was capped by an Aaliyah Robinson three-pointer with 6:08 to go. Leading by only five, again, with 3:33 left to play, junior guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) nailed a huge triple to stymie the Iona momentum. Down the stretch, a Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) conversion inside and clutch free throws from freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) allowed the Blue & Gold to come away victorious, 76-64.
The Bucs needed every bit of their offensive explosion in the second half after Iona’s Martinez stole the show in the first. The senior guard scored 22 in the half including 7-of-14 makes from the field. ETSU countered throughout the half with conversions in the paint from both Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.), but had no answer on the defensive end for Martinez. The two teams played back and forth for much of the period before the Gaels went on a 12-2 burst over the final 2:56 of the first period to go into the half leading ETSU, 42-32.
For the fourth time this season, the Bucs featured five players with double-digit scoring performances; led by 16 points from Tarter. The rookie also added seven rebounds, five steals, and three assists and was joined in double-figure scoring by senior forward Mitchell with 14, senior forward Clark and Christopher both with 13, and senior forward Bond with 10. These players also had huge contributions beyond their point totals including Mitchell with a career-high six assists and Clark with a team-high eight rebounds. For Iona, after a monster first half of 22 points, senior guard Martinez scored 29 total and was joined in double-figures by teammates junior forward Joy Adams with 17 – including a game-high 16 rebounds – and junior guard Robinson with 14. Martinez’s 29 points ties an ETSU opponent high this season.
After shooting 74 percent in the second half, the Blue & Gold shot the ball at a 56 percent clip for the game and converted on 6-of-14 from three-point range and 10-of-15 from the free throw line. ETSU also dished out 20 assists on 30 made baskets and dominated in the paint, 42-22. In addition, the Bucs turned 13 Iona turnovers into 17 points and got 12 points from their bench.
The Gaels shot it from the floor at 34 percent for the contest following a 25 percent second half. Iona was inefficient from behind the arc with only 7-of-23 conversions, but did knock down 15-of-20 free throws. The visitors also turned 13 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points and posted eight assists.
The Bucs will conclude non-conference play with a visit to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to take on the UNC Tar Heels on Friday, Jan. 2, at 2 p.m.
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