First time in program history hosting postseason WNIT game
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 18, 2015) – The ETSU women’s basketball team will welcome the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym in the first round of the 2015 Women’s National Invitation Postseason Tournament (WNIT).
Tickets can be purchased online here or over the phone at (423) 439-3878 and (423) 439-4828. General admission tickets are $10, while students will be admitted for free with a valid ETSU student ID. Due to an anticipated large turnout, students are encouraged to pick up their tickets early at the ticket office inside the Dome as well as at a tent set up outside of the facility over the next few days. Additionally, students will be able to pick up their tickets early on Thursday inside the D.P. Culp University Center.
This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams. ETSU (21-11, 11-3 SoCon) is the Southern Conference’s automatic qualifier in the 64-team tournament, while NC State (16-14 7-9 ACC) is one of 32 at-large selections.
Thursday marks the Bucs’ first appearance in a non-league postseason tournament since 2009-10 when the team fell to Xavier in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. The Blue & Gold last played in the WNIT in 2007 when it was defeated by Western Carolina in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The program is 1-2 all-time in this postseason tournament, but will host its first-ever postseason WNIT contest on Thursday.
The winner of Thursday’s contest will move on to face the winner of Radford at East Carolina – which takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m. – in the second round, March 21 – 24, in the single-elimination tournament. See the complete WNIT bracket here.
Last time out
Facing a 24-point deficit with 17:23 left to play, No. 2 seed ETSU staged a furious comeback to force overtime, but were outscored by the No. 1 seed Chattanooga Mocs, 10-5, in the extra period as the Bucs fell, 61-56, in the 2015 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship final. Senior forward Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) led the way for the Bucs with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges added 12 points. Senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) – who scored the overtime-forcing putback in regulation’s final seconds – grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Bucs at a glance
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 (12.8 ppg) and Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn. (12.1 ppg, 4.0 apg). Senior forwards Mitchell (11.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Clark (10.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) round out the double-figure scorers for the Bucs who are also getting solid play from fellow veteran forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) (8.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
NC State at a glance
The Wolfpack finished 10th in the 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference this season. All three of NC State's starting guards average at least 10.3 points per game (Dominique Wilson – 13.9 ppg, Miah Spencer – 13.6 ppg, and Len’Nique Brown – 10.3 ppg). NC State has dropped three-consecutive contests – two of which to top-10 teams in the country. The Wolfpack is led by second-year head coach Wes Moore who, prior to coming to Raleigh, spent 15 seasons as head coach at Chattanooga. During Moore's coaching career at UTC, he was 16-5 vs. ETSU.
Inside the numbers
ETSU and NC State are pretty similar on both the offensive and defensive ends with the Bucs averaging 68.4 points per game and giving up 64.2 points a contest, while the Wolfpack scores 66.7 points and surrenders 62.5 points. ETSU also features one of the top field goal percentages in the country at 45 percent per game. NC State knocks down three-pointers at a 33-percent clip, but the Blue & Gold allows only 28-percent shooting beyond the arc. The Wolfpack also features a +3.5 turnover margin, while the Bucs have a -2.1 margin.
Four Bucs earn SoCon postseason awards
Senior forward Serena Clark was named Second-Team All-Conference by both the SoCon head coaches and media, while senior forward Destiny Mitchell was picked by the coaches as a Second Team honoree and sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges a member of the Second Team tabbed by the media. In addition, freshman point guard Tianna Tarter was selected to the All-Freshmen Team by both the league coaches and media.
The Bucs have experienced a remarkable turnaround in 2014-15; going from a 9-21 overall record in 2013-14 to 21 wins this year. This win total improvement is second-best in the country this season, behind only Ohio who currently holds a 16-game win progression. The Blue & Gold is only two wins away from tying a program record for victories in a season which was accomplished in 2009-10.
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