Buccaneer seniors combine for 47 points; Clark records double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2015) – ETSU’s four seniors combined for 47 points – led by a team-best 16 from forward Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) -- in a 70-49 Senior Day rout of the Mercer Bears on Saturday afternoon inside Brooks Gym.
With the win, ETSU sweeps the season series with two victories in nearly four weeks against Mercer and improves to 19-8 overall – including 9-2 at home – and 11-1 in Southern Conference action. Meanwhile, the Bears drop to 16-12 overall and 8-4 in SoCon play.
With each of the Bucs’ four seniors starting the game, the Blue & Gold jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead over the first five minutes of the opening period. MU then responded with an 8-1 burst to tie the game at 10 with 12:24 left in the first half. ETSU was able to pull ahead by six points with 10:23 to go before both teams began trading baskets during the next six minutes. A senior guard Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) three-pointer with 4:21 remaining in the period was the catalyst for a 13-5 Bucs run over the duration of the half to bring the score to 39-27 at halftime. In her first start of the season, senior forward Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.) contributed eight points in the strong first-half showing by ETSU.
Armed with a solid lead out of the break, the Blue & Gold took control of the game with a 15-4 surge to open the first five minutes of the second half. ETSU continued to dominate in the paint and limited the Bears’ offense with stellar defense. As a result, the Bucs stayed in the driver’s seat with a 20-pont lead throughout the period. An offensive rebound and subsequent lay-in from senior forward Destiny Mitchell with 4:51 to go increased the Blue & Gold’s advantage to a game-high 24 points, 66-42. Mitchell followed with another driving lay-up conversion before timeout was called and ETSU’s four seniors checked out of the game to a round of applause from the crowd with 1:40 remaining.
Clark’s team leading 16 points was joined by 11 rebounds to give the senior her ninth double-double of the season and 22nd of her career. Fellow veteran forward Mitchell just missed a double-double of her own with 15 points and nine rebounds – including seven offensive boards. Bond also reached double-figures with 10 points, while Bowling added six. Sophomore guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.), too, got involved in the scoring with 10 points. For Mercer, freshman guard Kahlia Lawrence scored a game-best 17 points and senior guard Precious Bridges recorded 13.
The Blue & Gold shot the ball at a fairly-efficient rate of 47 percent for the game and dominated in the paint with a 42-24 advantage. The Bucs also outrebounded the Bears, 43-38, and turned 15 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points. In addition, ETSU turned Mercer over 14 times resulting in 16 points, racked up 13 assists, and got 19 points from its bench.
Meanwhile, the Blue & Gold limited MU to 35 percent shooting for the game including holding it without a conversion from beyond the three-point arc. The Bears were able to convert 12 Buccaneer miscues into 13 points and translated 14 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points. Additionally, Mercer got 10 points from its bench, but only dished out three assists.
The Bucs will hit the road to wrap up the regular season when it first visits Homewood, Alabama to face the Samford Bulldogs on Monday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.
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