Matchup will be battle of SoCon unbeatens inside Brooks Gym
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2015) – The top-two teams in the Southern Conference will square off on Monday afternoon when the ETSU women’s basketball team welcomes the No. 25 Chattanooga Mocs to Brooks Gym for an 11 a.m. tip-off.
The game will be part of “Education Day” festivities as more than 1,500 children in grades K – 5 from area elementary schools are expected to attend.
ETSU (14-7, 6-0 SoCon) will enter Monday’s contest sitting in second place in the league with a perfect conference record. Atop the league standings is Chattanooga (19-3, 7-0 SoCon) who comes into the game ranked 25th in the latest Associated Press poll and is No. 5 in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25 rankings.
The long-time regional rivals will square off in the 75th all-time meeting between the two teams, a series that the Mocs lead 53-21 and have won the last three matchups. The two teams last met a season ago in non-conference play on Dec. 21, 2013 when UTC came away victorious, 70-61, inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center. Monday’s contest will mark the first time ETSU and Chattanooga have met as members of the Southern Conference since the Bucs eliminated the Mocs from the 2005 SoCon postseason tournament, 55-50, in quarterfinal action. In conference play, the two teams have met 53 times with UTC holding a 36-17 all-time series advantage.
The Bucs aim to stay unbeaten in league play after two hard-fought wins against formidable league opponents during the past week. Most recently, ETSU 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.). The Blue & Gold fell behind by 13 with 17:52 remaining but battled back to tie the game at 40 with 8:55 to go. The two teams battled back and forth for the next six minutes before freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) broke a 42-42 tie with a fall-away jumper with 2:06 left. The Bucs then held on over the next two minutes to claim a 48-46 victory.
Also on Saturday, Chattanooga won its 15th game in a row with a 71-59 home victory over the Mercer Bears. In the win, the Mocs were paced by a game-high 19 points from guard Chelsey Shumpert, and also got 16 from forward Jasmine Joyner and a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds from guard Keiana Gilbert. For the season, said players are averaging double figures with Gilbert averaging 11.9, Shumpert with 11.4 and Joyner with 10.5 points per contest.
Entering Monday’s matchup, ETSU sports the league’s highest scoring offense with 71.9 points per game but Chattanooga counters with the SoCon’s best defense which only allows 51.2 points a contest. Both teams are one-two in the conference in field goal percentage (ETSU - .453, UTC - .435) while the Mocs limit their opponents to 38 percent shooting from the field. The Bucs continue to blanket their foes from beyond the three-point arc, only allowing 26 percent shooting, and also block four shots a game. UTC leads the league with 14 assists per game but ETSU is not far behind with 13 a contest.
ETSU’s balance on the offensive end continues with four of its five starters averaging in double figures. The Bucs are led by underclassmen guards Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) (13.6 ppg) and Tarter (12.5 ppg, 4.0 apg). A pair of fifth-year senior forwards, Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) (11.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Clark (10.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) round out the double-figure scorers for the Bucs who are also getting solid play from fellow senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) (9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg).
For more information on ETSU women’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link. Tickets can be purchased here. Follow along with the Bucs on social media with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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