Bucs remain perfect on the road in SoCon play, move to 7-1 in conference
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 7, 2015) – The ETSU women’s basketball team grinded out a 63-60 road victory over the Western Carolina Catamounts behind a team-high 20 points from sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) on Saturday afternoon inside the Ramsey Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 15-8 overall and 7-1 in Southern Conference action, while Western Carolina drops to 9-14 overall and 1-7 in SoCon play.
Looking to continue the momentum after a valiant effort in a 64-56 defeat to the nationally-ranked Chattanooga Mocs on Monday afternoon, the Bucs jumped out to a 6-0 advantage in the first two minutes at WCU. With the Blue & Gold looking to take control of the game early, the Catamounts fired back with a burst to keep the game competitive over the opening 10 minutes. The two teams traded the lead on more than one occasion over the next few minutes and with the game knotted at 18 with 7:56 left in the half, ETSU went on a 13-3 run to take a game-high 10-point lead, 31-21. WCU then responded again with a 7-0 surge to bring the score to 31-28 at halftime.
To open the second half, the Bucs stormed ahead to take a 40-32 advantage with 15:35 remaining and seemed poised to take control of the game. The home team had other plans and answered with a 10-4 burst over the next six minutes to pull within two, 44-42. The two teams went back and forth over the next few minutes before the Blue & Gold capitalized on a Catamount turnover with a Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) offensive rebound and put-back to pull ahead, 55-49, with 5:20 left to play. WCU cut its deficit to two points multiple times over the next four minutes, but ETSU continued to have an answer. Four free-throw conversions over the final minute from freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) allowed the Bucs to come away with a 63-60 victory.
Bridges scored a team-best 20 points – consisting of eight made field goals and two three-pointers -- and was joined in double-figures by senior forwards Clark and Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Clark also grabbed 14 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the season and 20th of her career, while Bond corralled seven boards.
The Blue & Gold shot the ball at a 44 percent (25-of-57) clip for the game and knocked in 10-of-15 free throws. ETSU also outrebounded WCU, 35-31, and turned 10 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points. Additionally, the Bucs scored 28 points in the paint and converted 10 Catamount turnovers into 12 points.
WCU shot the ball at a rate of 45 percent from the floor and nailed 9-of-14 from the charity stripe. The home team also scored 22 points in the paint and got 17 points from its bench.
The Bucs will return home for league play when they welcome the Furman Paladins to Brooks Gym on Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.
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