Bucs end season with 12-game win improvement from 2013-14
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 19, 2015) – The ETSU women’s basketball team saw its 2014-15 season come to a close on Thursday evening following a 73-58 defeat to the North Carolina State Wolfpack inside Brooks Gym in the first round of the 2015 Women’s National Invitation Postseason Tournament (WNIT).
The Bucs end the season at 21-12 overall, while the Wolfpack moves to 17-14 on the season. The Blue & Gold’s 21 wins this year is the most for the program since 2009-10 when that team won a program-record 23 games. Tonight’s non-league postseason appearance is also the team’s first since 2010 and marks the first time ever hosting a postseason WNIT contest.
The two teams played a tightly-contested first half featuring three ties and nine lead changes through the first 10 minutes. ETSU pulled ahead by four points, 18-14, with 9:34 to go in the period, and stayed ahead over the remaining nine minutes. A lay-in from NC State’s Jennifer Mathurin with 23 seconds remaining in the period brought the score to 25-25 as the two teams went into halftime deadlocked.
The Blue & Gold executed an impressive defensive performance in the first half; limiting its opponent to 27 percent shooting, but were unable to convert consistently on its offensive end. To begin the second period, the two squads traded baskets to begin before the Wolfpack pulled ahead. A 7-0 run from the 19:03 to 16:42 marks brought the score to 34-27. Over the next six minutes, ETSU rallied to cut its deficit to 41-40 on a junior guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) free throw with 10:18 to go. With the near 1,500 fans in attendance enthused, NC State responded under pressure with an 11-4 surge during the next four minutes to lead by a game-high eight points, 52-44. Desperate for points down the stretch, the Bucs were unable to convert, while the visitors hit their offensive stride. A subsequent 13-4 burst by the Wolfpack from the 6:53 to 3:10 marks essentially put the game out of reach amidst the home team’s offensive struggles.
NC State guard Miah Spencer scored a game-best 23 points and was joined in double figures by teammates Len’Nique Brown and Dominique Wilson with 14 and 12, respectively. Senior forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) paced the Bucs with her 11th double-double of the season and 24th of her career with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Christopher and senior guard Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) each added 11 points.
The Wolfpack bounced back in the second half with 50 percent (13-of-26) shooting to bring their game total to 37 percent. After failing to knock down a three-pointer in the opening period on 14 tries, the visitors were able to convert in the second with six makes beyond the arc. NC State outrebounded ETSU, 43-32, for the game and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points. The Wolfpack also scored 32 points in the paint and turned the Bucs over 16 times resulting in 12 points.
The Blue & Gold shot the ball at a 40-percent clip for the game, but struggled from downtown with only 3-of-19 conversions. The home team was most effective in the paint with 28 points and got 22 points from its bench following struggles from its starting five. ETSU did assist on 11 of its 21 made field goals and got 10 second-chance points.
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