Bucs erase 24-point deficit to force overtime; outscored 10-5 in extra period
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 8, 2015) – Facing a 24-point deficit with 17:23 left to play, the ETSU women’s basketball team staged a furious comeback to force overtime, but were outscored by the Chattanooga Mocs, 10-5, in the extra period as the Bucs fell, 61-56, in the 2015 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship final inside the U.S. Cellular Center.
With the loss, ETSU falls to 21-11 overall, while the Mocs improve to 29-3 on the season. Following the contest, UTC earns the Southern Conference’s automatic berth in the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, while the Bucs lock up an automatic bid to the 2015 Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
After going into halftime trailing, 35-19, and watching the Mocs take their biggest lead of the game in the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the second period, the Bucs refused to roll over against No. 17 Chattanooga. Number two seed ETSU manufactured a 15-0 run from the 11:22 to 5:02 marks to trail by only three, 46-43, on a freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) lay in. The final five minutes of regulation were tightly-contested when senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) reduced UTC’s lead to two, 51-49, on a jumper with 2:19 to go. Following a missed three-pointer by Chattanooga’s guard Chelsey Shumpert with 25 seconds remaining, the Bucs had the ball looking to tie or win the game in the final seconds. A driving Mitchell layup was blocked, but senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) followed with a put back to send the game into overtime at 51 all.
In overtime, the Mocs jumped ahead on a Shumpert corner three just 30 seconds into the extra period. This triple was the catalyst for a 7-0 UTC burst three minutes into the five minute overtime which essentially put the game out of ETSU’s reach.
The Bucs’ dominant second half helped them overcome a lackluster latter part of the first half. After taking a three-point lead, 15-12, on a senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) lay in with 9:49 left in the period, ETSU went cold from the field. In the final 10 minutes of the half, the Bucs converted only two made field goals, while Chattanooga was red-hot from the floor in scoring 23 points. As a result, UTC went into halftime with a 35-19 advantage that would later be erased by ETSU.
For the Bucs, Mitchell led the way with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to record her ninth double-double of the season, 35th of her career, and second consecutive. Sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) added 12 points, while Clark grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds. For their performances this weekend at the SoCon Championships, Mitchell and Tarter were named to the All-Tournament First Team, while Clark was selected to the Second Team. Shumpert led all scorers with a career-high 26 points.
Chattanooga shot the ball at a 46-percent clip for the game including 4-of-6 from the field in overtime. The Mocs also got 26 points in the paint and 11 points from their bench. UTC managed to turn the Bucs over 17 times resulting in 17 points and knocked in seven three-pointers.
Following shooting 26 percent in the opening period, ETSU got rolling in the second half with 47 percent shooting and held its opponent to 30 percent. For the game, the Bucs dominated in the paint with 38 points and cleaned the glass for 18 offensive rebounds which translated into 18 second-chance points. In total, the team held a sizeable, 42-27, advantage on the glass. ETSU and UTC both made 23 field goals over the course of the contest, but the Bucs struggles from beyond the three-point arc, 3-of-16, proved costly.
Seeding for the 2015 Postseason WNIT will take place on Monday, March 16. Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com for more information regarding the tournament selection.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!