Near-capacity crowd takes in tightly-contested tilt between SoCon’s top two teams
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2015) – In front of an energized, Brooks Gym crowd of 2,700 -- including more than 2,000 area elementary school kids on “Education Day” -- the ETSU women’s basketball team hung tough with the No. 23 Chattanooga Mocs for much of the contest but came up short down the stretch in a 64-56 defeat.
With its first loss in league play this season, ETSU drops to 14-8 overall and 6-1 in Southern Conference action, while Chattanooga remains perfect in the SoCon at 8-0 and improves to 20-3 overall. Following conclusion of the contest, UTC remains in first place in the league, while the Bucs maintain their second-place standing.
Their first time hosting a ranked opponent since Nov. 21, 2008, the Bucs fed off the crowd’s energy and went back and forth with UTC early. Without a score during the first three minutes of the game, the two teams finally got settled in and began matching the other. ETSU pulled ahead by four points on multiple occasions during the next 12 minutes, but was continually met with an answer from Chattanooga to keep the contest close. A Jasmine Joyner jumper with 4:31 to go in the period broke a 21-21 tie and gave the Mocs their first lead since the 16:37 mark. The Bucs were dominating on the glass but were turning the ball over at a steady rate which allowed UTC to go into halftime with a slim lead, 27-25.
Through the first five minutes of the second half, the two teams played to three ties and one lead change including ETSU taking its only lead of the period, 33-31, on a Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) lay-in with 15:12 to go. With the game tied at 33 with 14:54 left in the period, the Mocs manufactured an 11-4 run to take 44-37 advantage with 10:37 remaining. The Bucs then answered with an 11-6 surge over the next seven minutes to pull within two, 50-48. Over the next two minutes, UTC was able to separate from ETSU with a 9-2 burst to lead 57-48 with 1:13 left. In the end, some timely baskets by the visiting team as well as the Bucs’ inability to knock shots down from beyond the three-point arc -- and their tendency to turn the ball over -- were too much to overcome as they came up short against the nationally-ranked squad, 64-56.
Chelsey Shumpert scored a game-high 22 points and was joined in double-figures by her teammates Ka’Vonne Towns and Destiny Bramblett who added 13 points and 10 points, respectively. Meanwhile, for ETSU, senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) recorded her sixth double-double of the season and 32nd of her career with 18 points and a game-best 15 rebounds. In addition for the Bucs, fellow senior forward Clark recorded 13 points and seven rebounds, while freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) tallied 15 points and seven rebounds.
For the game, Chattanooga shot the ball at a 45 percent clip from the field and also buried four triples – including three in the second half – as well as knocked down 16-of-21 free throws. The Mocs also converted 17 Buccaneer turnovers into 13 points and scored 30 points in the paint.
On the flip side, ETSU was 24-of-58 (41 percent) from the floor and was 0-of-9 from three point range. The Bucs also only got to the free-throw line only nine times, converting eight. The home team dominated both in the paint (46-30) and on the boards (40-23). ETSU’s 15 offensive rebounds translated into 17 second-chance points.
The Bucs will continue SoCon play with a trip to Cullowhee, North Carolina to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 2 p.m.
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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