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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 7, 2011) – Sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) was one of three Lady Buccaneer players to score in double figures as her team-high 18 points led the ETSU women’s basketball team to a 65-47 victory over King on Monday night inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
Mitchell, who finished 8-of-12 from the field, also forced five steals and grabbed four rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Joining the Bluffton, Ga. native in double figure scoring were senior Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) and freshman Amy Duke (Hendersonville, Tenn.). Pickwell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Duke added 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Lady Bucs wrapped up exhibition play with a pair of wins and the Blue and Gold will now turn their attention to Tennessee Tech. ETSU and the Golden Eagles kick off the Preseason WNIT with a 7 p.m. tip inside the Dome on Friday night.
“Compared to our last game against Carson-Newman, I thought we did a little bit of a better job in our transition defense tonight,” added ETSU head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs held King to a 39.1 shooting percentage. “I was pleased with the way Amy Duke played; she looked more relaxed out there on the floor. With Destiny you can tell she’s getting back to form. I thought she was very aggressive taking the ball to the hole and did a tremendous job for us.”
After coming out sluggish in its exhibition opener last Thursday, ETSU came out firing on all cylinders to start the game, as the Lady Bucs opened up on a 14-4 run which was capped off by Duke’s lay-up at the 15:28 mark.
Unfortunately, the short-handed Lady Bucs couldn’t kick it into a higher gear as King continued to linger around.
The Tornado pulled to within three, 16-13, when Jana Gross assisted Brooke Johnson for her second three-pointer of the half, but again the Blue and Gold pushed their lead back into double figures twice over the next four minutes, twenty-seven seconds. However, King wouldn’t back down as another Johnson triple made it a four-point contest (29-25) with less than two minutes to play, but ETSU eventually managed to increase its lead by scoring five of the last seven points of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the break.
ETSU shot 45.7 percent for the half (16-35), but went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, compared to King shooting 45.5 percent (10-22) and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. The Lady Bucs dominated the Tornado in the paint as ETSU outscored King, 30-8, while also turning 18 turnovers into 13 points.
Once again the Blue and Gold stormed out of the gates to begin the second half as ETSU opened the first six minutes, nine seconds on a 14-6 run, extending its seven-point lead to 15, 48-33, following two free throws from Pickwell at the 13:51 mark.
King made a valiant effort to cut the deficit to eight after Johnson’s only three-pointer of the half made it a 52-44 contest with less than ten minutes to play – but despite only dressing eight players – Kemp’s club stepped up their game. The Lady Buccaneer tenacious defense held the Tornado scoreless over the next six-plus minutes, and following nine unanswered points by the Blue and Gold, ETSU led 61-44 after Duke found Pickwell for an open lay-in with 6:25 showing on the clock.
From there, the Lady Bucs weathered the storm and silenced the Tornado to come away with an 18-point win in the storm-sheltered Mini Dome.
For the game, ETSU shot 38.2 percent (26-68), but only hit two of its 13 three-point attempts. King was slightly better after going 18-of-46 from the field and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Lady Bucs held a plus-32 advantage in points in the paint, 44-12, and scored 22 points of 32 forced turnovers. In the end, Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.) had six of ETSU’s 18 steals, while also scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds. Despite out-rebounding the Tornado by one (37-36), ETSU managed to outscore King 12-0 in second-chance points. Overall, the Lady Bucs held King to only five offensive rebounds, compared to 13 by ETSU.
Kemp was pleased by the Lady Bucs’ presence in the paint, but she knows her team needs to do a better job scoring from the outside once regular season play begins in four days.
“I was pleased with the way we finished around the basket tonight, but we have to do a much better job with our perimeter shooting,” added Kemp.
Johnson was the lone King player to score in double figures as she led the way with a game-high 21 points.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.