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Tarter keys second-half surge in season series sweep
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2015) – Led by four double-digit scorers, including a game-high-tying 19 points from freshman point guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.), the ETSU women’s basketball team powered past the Furman Paladins, 72-61, on Monday evening inside Brooks Gym.
With the win, ETSU sweeps the season series and improves to 16-8 overall and 8-1 in Southern Conference action, while Furman drops to 15-10 overall and 4-5 in SoCon play.
Looking to defeat Furman for the second time in the past month, the Bucs got off to a hot start; taking a 10-2 lead on a Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) three-pointer with 15:45 to go in the opening period. Over the next minute and a half, though, the Paladins answered with an 8-0 burst to even things up. In a fast-paced contest, the Blue & Gold responded with a run of its own over the next four minutes; a 12-2 surge to take a first-half-high 10-point advantage with 10:11 to go. Fittingly, in a streaky first half, the Paladins manufactured a 17-6 rally to take a 29-28 lead with 3:09 remaining. ETSU collected itself over the duration of the period and answered back to take a 32-31 advantage into halftime.
The second half was back and forth to begin, but then Tarter began to take over. A lay-up by the rookie with 15:18 remaining put the Bucs up 40-35 as she was the catalyst for a second-period ETSU flurry. Comeback attempts from Furman were continually met with an answer from ETSU as the home team tried to separate. Holding a 54-49 lead with 6:52 left, the Blue & Gold put together a 7-0 burst over the next minute to pull ahead by a game-high 12 points. FU did not go away lightly, though, as a Whitney Bunn triple with 3:58 to go cut ETSU’s lead to five. Subsequently, a clutch three-point answer from Tarter helped thwart the Paladins’ rally. Down the stretch, the Bucs stayed in control as they dealt the visitors a 72-61 decision.
Joining Tarter in double-figures was sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) with 13, and senior forwards Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) and Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) with 12 and 10, respectively. The freshman also grabbed eight rebounds and dished-out four assists, while Bond came off of the bench to corral six boards. For Furman, guard/forward Holli Wilkins scored 19 points and was joined as a double-digit scorer by guard Kelsey Ellis with 13.
ETSU shot the ball from the floor at 43 percent for the game and really locked down FU in the second half; holding the Paladins to 36 percent shooting in the period. The Bucs also dominated in the paint, 38-24, and converted 13 Furman turnovers into 20 points. In addition, the Blue & Gold held a 46-38 advantage on the glass and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points.
Meanwhile, the visitors from Greenville, South Carolina knocked down 24-of-63 shots from the field for the game (38 percent) including six made three-pointers. The Paladins were also efficient in their limited attempts from the free-throw line, 7-of-8, and got 15 points from their bench. Additionally, FU assisted on 13 of its made field goals.
The Bucs will continue SoCon play in Johnson City when it welcomes Western Carolina to Freedom Hall for the first game of a women’s and men’s basketball double-header on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 1 p.m. The contest will also be the Bucs’ annual “Play 4Kay: Think Pink” game and will be broadcasted on ESPN3. Click here for ticket information.
For more information on ETSU women’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s hoops link. Follow along with the Bucs on social media with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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