ETSU looks to sweep season series against Paladins
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 8, 2015) – After grinding out a 63-60 road victory at Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon, the ETSU women’s basketball team will aim to sweep the season series versus Furman when it welcomes the Paladins to Brooks Gym on Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.
After knocking off the preseason SoCon runner-up Paladins, 73-72, on Jan. 10 in Greenville, South Carolina, the all-time series is in favor of Furman, 37-16. The Bucs’ last-seconds win snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Paladins. In the thrilling victory, the Blue & Gold led by as many as 17 points with 12:30 to go in the second half and weathered a home-team rally from Furman; sealing victory on a pair free throws from junior guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) with two seconds left to play to come away with a 73-72 win. Freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored a game-high 21 points and was joined in double-figures by senior guard Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) with a season-high 16.
ETSU will enter Monday’s matchup on the heels of a hard-fought, 63-60, triumph over the Western Carolina Catamounts on Saturday afternoon inside the Ramsey Center. In the win, the Bucs led by as many as 10 points with four minutes to go in the first half before the home team went on a 7-0 run to bring the score to 31-28 going into halftime. Over the first five minutes of the second period, the Blue & Gold seemed poised to take control of the game, but WCU continually had an answer. Over the duration of the contest, the two teams went back and forth in tightly-contested play. Fortunately, ETSU was able to separate from the Catamounts down the stretch with four free-throw conversion from Tarter over the final minute of play to allow the Bucs to come away with a 63-60 victory. Sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) scored a team-best 20 points, while senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) recorded her seventh double-double of the season and 20th of her career with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
On Monday, Feb. 2, Furman topped UNCG, 78-70, to notch its third-straight win to bring its SoCon record to 4-4 and overall record to 15-9. In the win, senior forward and Preseason Conference Player of the Year Brittany Hodges totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds. For the season, the Paladins are led by sophomore guard Whitney Bunn with 14.1 points per game and a league-leading seven assists per contest, while Hodges posts 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Junior guard/forward Holli Wilkins also chips in 12.6 points per.
The two teams enter Monday’s matchup as the top-two offensive teams in the SoCon with ETSU averaging 70.8 points and a .451 field goal percentage per game, while FU averages 68.4 points and .439 shooting per contest. In addition, the Paladins shoot a conference-best 37 percent from three-point range but the Bucs limits their opponents to a league-leading 26 percent shooting beyond the arc. Both teams also rebound at an efficient rate with Furman holding a +4.0 rebound margin while ETSU sports a +2.1 margin.
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 Bridges (13.4 ppg) and Tarter (12.4 ppg, 4.0 apg). A pair of fifth-year senior forwards, Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) (11.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Clark (10.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg) round out the double-figure scorers for the Bucs who are also getting solid play from fellow senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) (9.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg). In SoCon play, Bridges and Tarter are leading the way with 12.8 and 11.8 points per game, respectively.
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