Bucs look to improve to 3-0 to start league play for first time since 2012
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 16, 2015) – After capturing a pair of wins on the road to move to 2-0 to begin Southern Conference play, the ETSU women’s basketball team will host UNCG on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside Brooks Gym in its league home opener.
The Bucs (10-7, 2-0 SoCon) and Spartans (5-12, 0-2 SoCon) will square off in the 22nd all-time matchup between the two teams; a series in which ETSU holds an 11-10 series advantage. The Blue & Gold has come away victorious in the past four meetings including, most recently, a 70-67 overtime win on Feb. 19, 2005.
ETSU will look to keep the momentum going off of a dominant, 79-47, victory at Wofford on Monday afternoon. Efficient offense and stifling defense allowed the Bucs to jump out to a 28-14 advantage over the first 13 minutes of the game. The Blue & Gold stayed in control throughout the opening period to take a 44-24 lead into halftime. ETSU continued to have its way in the second half, accumulating its advantage to a season-high 38 points with three minutes left to play as it coasted to victory. Freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored a game-high 18 points and also tied a season best with six steals and grabbed five rebounds. Tarter was joined in double figures by senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) with a near double-double of 14 points and nine boards, senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.), too, with 14, and junior guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Spartans fell just short in their previous game against Mercer, 74-73, after Bears’ guard Precious Bridges hit two free throws with six seconds left to seal the victory. UNCG sophomore forward Jade Scaife scored a career-high 17 points, but the MU came away with the win. The Spartans had four players in double figures with Scaife leading the way with 17 points (7-of-9 FG) and eight rebounds. Junior guard Lucy Mason leads UNCG in scoring at 13.8 points per game and is joined in double digits by senior Jarae Savage with 12.2 points per contest. In the preseason, the Spartans were picked to finish last in the eight-team conference by the SoCon head coaches and seventh by the league media. Additionally, Mason was selected to the Preseason All-SoCon team.
Both teams are in the top half of the conference in scoring with ETSU leading the league with 72.5 points per game, while UNCG posts 65.2 points per contest. The Bucs also still reign as the best in the SoCon with a 45 percent field goal percentage and on the flip side, holds opponents to a conference-best 26 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc. The Spartans, too, are getting it done on the defensive end with a league-high 12 steals per contest.
The Blue & Gold features one of the SoCon's most balanced attacks with four of its five starters averaging in double figures; led by underclassmen guards Tarter (13.5 ppg, 3.8 apg) and Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) (12.7 ppg). A pair of fifth-year senior forwards, Mitchell (11.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) (10.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) round out the double-figure scorers for the Bucs, who are also getting solid play from guard Christopher (9.6 ppg, 35.4 3PFG%).
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