Jumper from Tarter with two minutes left gives ETSU first lead of game
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2015) – The ETSU women’s basketball team erased a 13-point second-half deficit to come away with a 48-46 comeback victory over the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon inside Brooks Gym behind a double-double of 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds from senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.).
With the win, ETSU improves to 14-7 overall and a perfect 6-0 in Southern Conference play while Samford drops to 11-10 overall and 4-2 in conference action.
After going into halftime trailing, 29-21, the Bucs’ deficit grew deeper over the first two minutes of the second period. A Taylor Reece three-pointer with 17:53 left to play brought the score to 34-21. Trailing by a sizeable margin, the Blue & Gold finally settled down and began to chip away at the SU lead. Methodically, over the next nine minutes, ETSU manufactured a 19-6 run to pull even at 40; capped by a nice back-door cut and conversion from senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.). Over the next six minutes, the two teams engaged in tightly-contested action – including over four minutes without a score – featuring one tie and two lead changes. With a solid, low-post drive, senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) tied the game at 42 with 3:49 remaining. A fall-away jumper from freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) then gave the Bucs their first lead of the game, 44-42, with 2:06 to go. Down the stretch, a Clark lay-in, a pair of Tarter free throws, and a defensive stop allowed the Blue & Gold to complete the comeback for a 48-46 win.
To start the game, the Bulldogs started fast; scoring the first nine points of the contest. ETSU battled back to cut its deficit to two on a pair of occasions through the first seven minutes. Cold from the field and missing the services of Mitchell due to foul trouble, the Blue & Gold fell behind by a first-half high 11 points, 27-16, with 6:38 left in the period. Luckily, Clark put on a dominant first half with nine points and nine rebounds to keep the deficit under double-digits going into halftime.
Registering only six minutes of playing time in the first half due to picking up two early fouls, Mitchell made up for her time lost with eight points and three rebounds in the second to bring her game totals to 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomre guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) was on the verge of joining Clark and Mitchell in double digits with nine points as well as a career-high tying four assists. For Samford, Reece scored a game-best 17 points – including 5-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc – and Lydia McGee added 12 points.
After a poor shooting performance in the opening period where they converted on only 7-of-25 field goal attempts (28 percent), the Bucs knocked down 11-of-19 field goals (58 percent) in the second half. On the defensive end, ETSU turned up the intensity in the second period in limiting the Bulldogs to 33 percent shooting after allowing 44 percent in the first half. The Blue & Gold also turned 15 SU turnovers into 23 points and assisted on 13 of its 18 made field goals. In addition, the Bucs outrebounded the Bulldogs, 33-27, and recorded 24 points in the paint.
Samford was efficient from three-point land with 6-of-14 makes (43 percent) and parlayed 15 ETSU turnovers into 15 points. The Bulldogs also got 12 points from their bench and tallied 24 points in the painted area.
The Bucs will continue SoCon play at home on Monday when they welcome Chattanooga to Brooks Gym at 11 a.m. for Education Day.
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