JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (October 1, 2017) – Heading into her fifth season as head coach of the ETSU women’s basketball program, Brittney Ezell addressed her team with her vision and goals for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
“In the preseason, we just want to get better. We’re a one bid league and we have to get better every game and prepare to win the SoCon. That’s our goal every year, but along the way, we’re going to have some baby steps we have to take. I just want them to get better every day for the next 29 days until our home opener and then we’ll re-establish our game goals. Right now, it’s about improving as an individual in order to help the team,” stated Ezell.
While her team has been participating in preseason workouts throughout the summer months and earlier this semester, Ezell and the Bucs officially began practice for the upcoming season on Sunday morning inside Brooks Gym.
Coach Ezell shared that there was “A lot of energy, a lot of effort and I thought things went really well. Just thinking back to my previous four years, this was probably the top first day of practice. They were heavily engaged, they were bought in to what we were doing and really in it for one another, so I thought today went really well.”
The team will open its season on Friday, Nov. 11 inside Brooks Gym for their season and home opener against Cincinnati.
Last season the Bucs went 16-14 and 8-6 in the Southern Conference. Heading into the season, the Bucs lost three key seniors in Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.), Adriane Vaughn (Midlothian, Va.), and Yamile Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). Bridges is currently ETSU’s All-Time career leader in three-pointers made. However, t,he Bucs return two All-SoCon performers in senior Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Raven Dean (Charlotte, N.C.) Tarter was a unanimous selection for the First Team All-SoCon for the second year in a row, while Dean garnered Third Team All-SoCon honors. Tarter had a tremendous year becoming the 23rd member of ETSU’s 1,000 point-club and becoming the first ETSU player since 2010 to score 500 points in a season. Two-sport athlete, Malloree Schurr (Montgomery, Texas) brings plenty of experience and growth to ETSU’s lineup, along with the help from guards Carley Lytton (Floyd, Va.) and Jada Craig (Winston-Salem, N.C.), and forward Sadasia Tipps (Hickory, N.C.).
For Schurr and Tarter, it was their last first practice as the two seniors on the team. Schurr thought “The intensity was amazing. Nobody really thought twice about what we were doing. We were just going hard the whole time. It was a good feeling. I thought this was the best first practice I’ve ever had as a team at ETSU.” As for it being her last first practice, she said there were so many emotions. “I was telling Coach E the other day that I’m not ready to leave. It’s coming so fast. I couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone here and the choice I made of coming here. It’s just been a blessing.” Tarter thought the first practice went great as well. “I feel like we have a lot of potential. I think it’s going to be a pretty good season,” said Tarter. “I’m excited and kind of sad that this is my last year, but my goal is one game at a time.”
Ezell also welcomes four newcomers to the 2017-18 squad in freshmen Erica Haynes-Overton (Nashville, Tenn.), Alayjah Sherer (Tupelo, Miss.) and transfers Micah Scheetz (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Britney Snowden (Pensacola, Fla.).
“Tianna Tarter is always impressive. I thought Malloree was really good again and I expected that from our seniors. I thought that Alayjah, Britney, and Erica, being our newcomers, were really, really good today. They were engaged, they were bought in. Their conditioning level was tremendous so I think coach Mike Starke deserves a lot of credit for handing them over to us ready to go.”
Following practice, the ETSU women’s basketball team revealed their new locker room for the upcoming season. Smiles and excitement filled the air. “It was super nice and such an improvement from last year. I’m excited to be in here,” shared Sadasia Tipps. Junior Raven Dean also really liked it. “I like the showers, the mirrors, and the overall team space. Lastly, Carley Lytton said “It’s new and it’s really exciting.”
As for the season itself, the Bucs will feature 13 home games, including games against Cincinnati, Michigan State, and Duquesne who will be visiting Johnson City. Southern Conference play begins Jan. 4 as the Bucs will welcome Western Carolina. During Thanksgiving Break, the Bucs will play in the 2107 Gulf Coast Showcase as they open up with Notre Dame on Nov. 24. For season ticket information please CLICK HERE.
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For more information on Buccaneer women’s basketball visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.