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Lady Bucs shoot over 85 percent from the line to overcome offensive struggles
MOREHEAD, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2012) – Going 23-of-27 from the free throw line, and outrebounding Morehead State by 20, the ETSU women’s basketball team sealed its second win of the season by defeating the Eagles, 57-53, on Sunday afternoon at Johnson Arena.
On a day where both teams struggled offensively – ETSU (2-2) shooting 32.7 percent (16-49 FG) and turning the ball over 29 times, along with Morehead State (1-6) shooting 34.5 percent (19-55 FG) and committing 21 turnovers – ETSU found a way to put enough points on the board by getting to the line 20 times in the second half. Fourteen of those attempts came in the final minute of play, with the Blue and Gold knocking down 12 to hold off a late Eagles run.
Sophomore Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) had put the Lady Bucs up nine with a made three-pointer at the 3:38 mark, but Morehead State used an 8-0 run to bring the score to 45-44 with two minutes to play. That was when the free-throw contest began, led off by junior Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) who knocked down both ends of a crucial one-and-one. Morehead never took the lead in the final minute, and finally surrendered on a Bogard steal with six seconds to play.
“I’m really excited about the win, but I can’t say I was pleased with our performance, especially in the first half,” ETSU head coach Karen Kemp said. “I have to give Morehead a lot of credit, they did a really good job of taking us out of our game, and making us play their game. They did a really good job of slowing us down, but we’ve got to do a much better job of taking care of the basketball. Twenty-nine turnovers is way too many.”
Compensating for the turnovers, ETSU outrebounded the Eagles 46-26, and 29-10 in the second half alone. A huge boost to the Lady Bucs’ second-half effort was the return of Mitchell, who exited the game at the 12:36 mark of the first half after committing her second foul. ETSU’s leader in points and rebounds had just two points and zero boards at the break, but wound up finishing with a game-high 15 points (5-9 FG, 5-6 FT) and six rebounds, including a game-high five offensive cleanups. Mitchell also had an assist, a block and three steals to clean up the stat sheet.
“You can’t say enough about Destiny Mitchell,” Kemp added. “She’s going to give it everything she has every time she steps out onto the floor.”
Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) scored 11 points (3-9 FG, 4-4 FT) to reach double figures for the second straight game. The junior guard was all over the stat sheet again as well, picking up five rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) was the other Lady Buc in double figures, scoring 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 FT) and coming up one rebound shy of her first double-double.
As for Morehead State, Almesha Jones tied Mitchell’s game-high of 15 points, but turned the ball over seven times. Terrice Robinson scored 12 to wind up as the other Eagle with double figures in scoring.
The turnovers came early and often, with ETSU racking up six less than six minutes into the game. Despite mishandling the basketball for the majority of the first half, and playing over 12 minutes without Mitchell, the Lady Bucs were tied, 18-18, at the break.
A momentum swinger in the opening half came with Morehead State leading 15-12. Allie Turner was called for traveling just before she put up a three that went in and would have put the Eagles up by six. Instead, ETSU was given the ball and Bond scored on two possessions in a row to give ETSU a lead with 3:48 before halftime – its first lead since the 13:48 mark.
Morehead regained the lead at 18-16, but allowed the Lady Bucs two free throws on a technical foul. Tyler Ituen had possession on the left wing, and was called for traveling. Upon being called for her second turnover of the half, Ituen slammed the ball into the floor and was whistled for the technical. Bogard hit both free throws to pull ETSU even at the break.
Mitchell made an immediate impact to start the second half. In the first five minutes, the ETSU junior scored four of ETSU’s six points, and came up with two offensive rebounds. Although Mitchell was producing, the Lady Bucs were still turning the ball over and missing looks at the basket.
“I still thought we came out a little flat to start the second half,” Kemp commented. “However, we were eventually able to play Lady Buc basketball and push the ball down the floor. Bri [Bogard] hit a shot that was big for us.”
Bogard’s big make came with 13:50 to play. With the score even at 26 apiece, Bogard nailed ETSU’s first three-pointer of the game. ETSU took the lead for good two minutes later on a made jumper from Mitchell.
The Lady Bucs then built a nine-point cushion by keeping Morehead scoreless for five minutes. The Eagles used eight straight points to cut the lead to one, but then fouled Mitchell with 58.6 on the clock. Kemp called a timeout, and the Lady Bucs stayed composed at the line in the final minute to even their record for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season.
The ETSU women’s basketball team will try and improve to above .500 on Thursday, Dec. 13, when it heads to the state of Louisiana to take on LSU.
- ETSU shot 85.2 percent from the free throw line (23-27), going of 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) in the final minute of play.
- Destiny Mitchell scored a game-high 15 points (5-9 FG) to lead ETSU in scoring for the third time this year. Thirteen of Mitchell’s points and all six of her rebounds came in the second half.
- Shawn Randall and Maria Bond were in double figures, with Randall scoring 11 points (3-9 FG, 4-4 FT) and Bond scoring 10 points (4-6 FG).
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For more information on ETSU women’s basketball, please visit www.ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball links.