ETSU women’s basketball faces defending national champions on Monday
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 6, 2022) – ETSU women’s basketball is wasting no time finding its first big test of the new season, as the Bucs open the 2022-23 campaign against the No. 1 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks on Monday at 8:30 p.m. in Columbia, S.C.
Monday’s matchup inside Colonial Life Arena will be nationally televised on SEC Network around 8:30 p.m. and will follow No. 4 Kentucky’s men’s basketball game against Howard. Prior to Monday’s game, South Carolina will honor the 2021-22 national championship team with a banner and ring ceremony at 8:10 p.m.
The game will officially usher in the Coach Brenda Mock Brown Era of ETSU women’s basketball.
Monday, Nov. 7 – ETSU at South Carolina – 8:30 p.m. / SEC Network / Live Stats / Tickets
- ETSU unofficially opened the 2022-23 season last Thursday with an 87-41 exhibition win over Mars Hill inside Brooks Gym. Graduate transfer Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio) led the scoring with 29 points and 13-20 shooting from the floor.
- In the exhibition, the Bucs finished with a 64-8 advantage in the paint and with a 56-24 advantage in rebounding. The Bucs also shot 36-72 in the game, posting a consistent 18-36 clip in each half of the exhibition.
- South Carolina also hosted an exhibition to open the season, defeating Benedict by a 123-32 final on Halloween night. Ten players saw action with no player going beyond 25 minutes.
- Much like ETSU, South Carolina shot 50 percent from the floor in its exhibition with 45-90 shooting from the floor. The Gamecocks also had a 70-29 advantage in rebounds.
- ETSU will play a defending national champion for the first time since December 21, 1994. In that game, ETSU played North Carolina at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill. In the previous season, UNC defeated Louisiana Tech behind Charlotte Smith’s game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
- Furthermore, ETSU has never opened the season against a defending national champion.
- The Bucs will open against a Power 5 opponent for the second time since 2007. The last time came against Tennessee in 2019-20, where ETSU battled the Lady Vols to a four-point contest, falling 72-68.
- Monday will not be the first time Coach Mock has faced Coach Dawn Staley and her South Carolina team. The two also met in the first round of the 2017 NCAA tournament while Mock was at UNC Asheville. South Carolina went on to win the national title that season.
ABOUT THE BUCS
- 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.
- 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).
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS
- The Gamecocks are 7-1 in season openers played at home under head coach Dawn Staley, who is 12-2 overall in season openers at South Carolina.
- South Carolina’s 10 returning letterwinners include four of last season’s five starters, three of whom were named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List earlier last week – Brea Beal, Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke. Boston is the reigning National Player of the Year.
- Head coach Dawn Staley is entering her 15th season at South Carolina, having elevated the program to a perennial national contender with two National Championships in the last six NCAA Tournaments.
- Monday marks the last season opener for a senior class that became South Carolina’s first No. 1 signing class in 2019. Over the last three seasons, the group has amassed a sterling 93-8 (.921) record.
- Monday marks the 14th all-time meeting between ETSU and South Carolina.
- The Gamecocks own a 12-1 advantage in the all-time series. ETSU’s lone win came on Valentine’s Day in 1983 by a 70-59 final in Johnson City, one of just two times the Bucs have hosted South Carolina.
- The last meeting came in 2018 at the Vancouver Showcase. South Carolina was one season removed from its 2017 national championship and finished that season in the Sweet Sixteen. No current ETSU players were on the roster during that meeting.
For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball tab.