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|February 18, 2023||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||Furman||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.361 (22-61)||.549 (28-51)|
|3P FG Percentage||.353 (6-17)||.278 (5-18)|
|FT Percentage||.813 (13-16)||.556 (5-9)|
Thomas - 5
TEAM - 5
Riggs - 1
Koilia - 1
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2023) – ETSU women’s basketball had its largest crowd of the season inside Brooks Gym for Saturday’s regular season home finale, defeating Furman in a close 66-63 victory in front of 922 fans on Senior Day and Fan Appreciation Day.
The Bucs continue to make history this season, improving to 21-7 overall and 8-4 in conference play. This year’s team is only the fifth in program history to reach 21 wins in a single season. The other four include teams from 1994-95 (21-9), 2007-08 (21-12), 2009-10 (23-9) and 2014-15 (21-12).
Prior to the game, ETSU honored its lone graduate — Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio) — who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists in her last regular season home game. Thomas also had perhaps the biggest make of the game with 24 seconds to go, hitting a layup to extend a three-point lead to five before time ran out on the Paladins at the other end.
ETSU led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, 52-37, but Furman caught a second wind with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Jaelyn Acker to end the third frame. The Paladins began inching back in the fourth, using a late 7-0 run turn a double-digit deficit to a one-possession game at 64-61 with 57 seconds to go.
Back with the ball, ETSU used the shot clock effectively and was able to run some time before Thomas made her driving layup from the right side of the basket. Leading 66-61, ETSU’s trademark defense gave Furman fits on the final possession. Ella Riggs made a floater with under a second to go, but it was too late as the Bucs inbounded safely to Thomas to end the game.
In a strong team effort, many players contributed on both sides. Reigning Southern Conference Player of the Week Kendall Folley (Lebanon, Ohio) had a game-high 25 points on 11-16 shooting, while adding three assists. Courtney Moore (Gainesville, Fla.) joined Folley and Thomas in double figures with 11 points on three triples and two free throws.
Defensively, the Bucs held their own with a season-high nine blocks. Jakhyia Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) was a key part in this with five blocks, which is tied for the second-most in a single game in program history behind only Kiya Verdell with seven against Davidson in 2002. Davis also had eight points, two steals and five rebounds.
Meanwhile, Furman drops to 10-17 overall and 2-10 in the conference. The Paladins also had three players in double figures, led by Riggs with 18 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter: Both teams had extended runs to open the game, beginning with a 13-0 by ETSU to take a 15-4 lead and force an early Furman timeout. Ten of the 13 points happened in the span of 1:04 of game time. Furman had its turn after that, using an 11-0 run to tie the game before ETSU took a 21-18 lead at the break. Despite a close score, ETSU outshot the Paladins by a 64.3 to 37-5 percentage.
Second Quarter: The second quarter was close throughout, but ETSU never lost the lead and led by eight at halftime. Moore had a big hand in this with a three-pointer on a dish from Thomas with 16 seconds to go in the half. Once again, ETSU outshot Furman with a 45.5 to 26.7 advantage in the quarter and a 56.0 to 32.3 advantage for the half. The Bucs were 14-25 from the floor and 4-10 from downtown, while Furman was 10-31 and 3-10.
Third Quarter: The Paladins kept pace in the third quarter to remain in striking distance, but ETSU would remain ahead and led by as many as 15 in the frame. Folley had a big scoring quarter for the Bucs with nine points, making four of her five attempts. Davis was also crucial defensively with two blocks and the highest plus/minus margin of the frame for either team with +6.
Fourth Quarter: ETSU fought off a last-ditch-effort from the Paladins in the fourth quarter. Despite being outscored 20-14 in the fourth, the Bucs did enough to hold on and send the crowd home happy. Other big moments in the quarter — outside of the last field goal from Thomas — was three timely baskets from Folley, baskets from Davis and Sarah Thompson (Gate City, Va.) and high-pressure defense on the final possession.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
COMING UP NEXT
The Bucs are on the road for its final two regular season games, beginning next Thursday at UNCG at 7 p.m. ETSU closes the regular season at Western Carolina next Saturday at 7 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.