Women’s hoops provides first look on Thursday
Women’s hoops provides first look on Thursday
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bucs welcome Mars Hill for exhibition on Thursday at 7 p.m.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 2, 2022) – ETSU fans will have a chance to see the women’s basketball program in action for the first time under the new leadership of Coach Brenda Mock Brown on Thursday at 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym for an exhibition against Mars Hill.

Thursday’s exhibition is open to the public with tickets starting as low as $5. Tickets for this game and other single games can be purchased online. Season tickets are also available for purchase at ETSUTickets.com.

“Our emphasis has been on building a competitive team culture tomorrow, and so going forward, our focus will be on the controllables of the game and getting better,” said Coach Mock. “Primarily, we want to bring consistent energy and commitment to the game plan for 40 minutes, rebound well on both ends and play solid team defense. Although we played a competitive Division I team in a closed scrimmage last Saturday, this will be the first time we are under the lights in Brooks Gym. We are excited for the opportunity, and it will be informative to see how our players respond in these circumstances. Mars Hill has a new head coach and many new players as well, so it will also be an opportunity to see how our players can make adjustments throughout the game.”



Thursday, Nov. 3 – Mars Hill at ETSU – 7 p.m. / Live Stats / Tickets



  • Thursday will be a preview of the Coach Mock Era of ETSU women’s basketball, as she leads the Bucs after eight seasons at UNC Asheville from 2012-2020. Mock has 117 career wins over her eight seasons and led UNC Asheville to a pair of NCAA tournaments in 2016 and 2017.
  • The Bucs return five players from last season and welcome nine newcomers. Of the newcomers, five are true freshmen and four are transfers with some degree of NCAA Division I experience.
  • All five returners are sophomores, led by guard Courtney Moore (Gainesville, Fla.). Moore averaged 8.9 points per game last season and led the team in three-point shooting, steals and assists.
  • In-state post player Jakhyia Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) also returns for her sophomore season, leading all returners in rebounding at 6.2 per game and in blocked shots with 22. Davis and Aaliyah Vananda (Maryville, Tenn.) are ETSU’s two in-state players this season.
  • Though not from Tennessee, the Bucs do have a local product in sophomore Sarah Thompson from nearby Gate City High School in Southwest Virginia. Thompson was one of just two players to play in all 28 games last season, averaging 24.7 minutes per game.
  • The young Bucs are anchored by a pair of graduate transfers in Jayla Ruffus-Milner (North Hills, Calif.) from Pepperdine and Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio) from Temple. Ruffus-Milner played three seasons at Pepperdine, while Thomas spent two years at FIU before Temple. While at FIU, Thomas was the ninth player in Conference USA history to record a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals against Middle Tennessee
  • ETSU has eight states represented on its roster with three players from Ohio and two each from Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Furthermore, ETSU has one international player in freshman guard Paris McCarthy from Castleisland, Ireland.
  • This season, ETSU will seek its first winning campaign and postseason appearance since 2018, where the team finished 20-13 overall, 11-3 in the SoCon and with an appearance in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). ETSU has made three NCAA tournament appearances all-time (2008, 2009, 2010) and four WNIT appearances (1995, 2006, 2014, 2018).
  • This year marks the second straight time ETSU will hold an exhibition inside Brooks Gym post-COVID. Last season, the Bucs defeated Lane by a final of 94-35.



  • Last season, the Lions finished with a 1-25 record with its lone win coming against Lincoln Memorial University.
  • Mars Hill is led by sophomore guard Maddie Gillie, who was named to the Preseason All-South Atlantic Conference Third Team on Tuesday. Gillie played in 25 games last year with 12 starts, including 311 total points and 37 percent shooting from the floor.
  • The Lions were tabbed 12th the SAC preseason poll, one spot ahead of Emory & Henry.
  • Much like ETSU, Mars Hill will have a new leader with first year head coach Emry Tsitouris. Tsitouris was hired this past spring after spending the past two seasons as an assistant at Catawba. While there, Catawba reached its first NCAA Division II tournament semifinal in program history and had back-to-back tournament appearances.



  • ETSU and Mars Hill have played 15 times.
  • The Bucs lead the all-time series 9-6 with the last official matchup coming in 1997. ETSU has won five straight meetings against the Lions.
  • The first meeting took place in 1969.


For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball tab.