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|February 25, 2023||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||1OT||2OT||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||ETSU||WCU|
|FG Percentage||.467 (28-60)||.438 (28-64)|
|3P FG Percentage||.350 (7-20)||.389 (7-18)|
|FT Percentage||.675 (27-40)||.700 (21-30)|
Thomas - 3
Moore - 2
Holliday - 1
Cruz - 1
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2023) – It took a pair of overtimes to settle a women’s basketball rivalry between ETSU and Western Carolina on Saturday, as the Bucs held off the surging Catamounts for a dramatic 90-84 win inside the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee.
The Bucs end a historic regular season with a 22-8 record — marking the most regular season wins in program history, as well as the second-highest overall win total in program history behind the 2009-10 team that went 23-9 and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
With a 9-5 record in conference play, ETSU finishes in a two-way for second place in the league standings alongside Chattanooga. The Bucs will be the No. 3 seed entering next week’s Southern Conference tournament and will face No. 6 Samford on Thursday, March 2 in the quarterfinal nightcap at 5:45 p.m.
ETSU took a first quarter lead with a 12-0 run and led all the way up until the final moment of regulation, as Western Carolina’s Kyla Allison hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime at 72-72. The Catamounts were on the verge of finishing off the comeback before Courtney Moore (Gainesville, Fla.) intervened with a clutch three pointer with seven seconds to go to make it 80-80.
ETSU finished the job in the second overtime, including three points from Moore and a game-changing triple from sophomore Nevaeh Brown (Charlotte, N.C.) to make it 86-81. Brown iced the game with four free throws later on, finishing off an exciting game in Cullowhee.
Five players finished in double figures as ETSU achieved its second-highest offensive total of the season and highest in D1 competition. Brown led the way with a steady 21 points, while graduate guard Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio) added 19 with 8-16 shooting from the floor. Another impressive stat for Brown was that she was on the receiving end of 10 fouls and went 11-15 from the free throw line.
Sophomore Kendall Folley (Lebanon, Ohio) and freshman Journee McDaniel (New Bern, N.C.) each had 14 points on the day — two short of a career-high for McDaniel. McDaniel also had eight rebounds. Sophomore Jakhyia Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) had 11 points from the post and nine rebounds for a near double-double. Moore finished with nine — all in the second half and overtime.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter: Five players scored in the first quarter for ETSU, including the game’s first three pointer from Brown. The first media timeout saw ETSU and WCU tied up at 10-10, but a 12-0 run sparked by seven points from Folley, jumpers from McDaniel and Thomas and a free throw from Thomas in the final minute led ETSU to a 22-10 advantage.
Second Quarter: With a double-digit lead heading into the next frame, ETSU pushed it to as many as 16 with a 35-19 lead at the 3:34 mark. Western Carolina pulled back within single digits to make it 35-26, forcing ETSU to call a quick timeout with 1:36 on the clock. Two more points each way left the score at 37-28 at the halftime horn. The Bucs finished 15-30 from the field for an even 50 percent in the first half.
Third Quarter: Free throw shooting became a crucial difference maker for ETSU in the third quarter. Despite being outshot from the floor with eight field goals from WCU, the Bucs made up the difference with a 9-12 showing from the free throw line, while limiting the Catamounts to just one attempt. Six of those free throws came from Brown, two from Davis and one from Jaileyah Cotton (Bardstown, Ky.).
Fourth Quarter: Western Carolina put together a valiant last-ditch-effort in the fourth quarter to force overtime, scoring 26 points in the frame. With the game on the line, Kyla Allison threw up a three-pointer at the buzzer and it banked in to force OT. Both teams shot over 50 percent in the frame, with WCU shooting 75 percent (9-12) and ETSU just over 55 percent (5-9).
First Overtime: The Catamounts continued its 8-0 run that forced overtime with another basket from Audrey Meyers, taking the early lead at 74-72 — their first lead since the first quarter. Later down 79-75, Thomas made a driving layup to pull within two. After WCU hit just one of two free throws to make it a three-point game, Moore caught a pass in the corner and hit perhaps ETSU’s biggest shot of the game to tie it at 80-80.
Second Overtime: After hitting the game-tying three, Moore used that confidence and drove under the basket for a go-ahead layup. Later in the period, Brown hit a clutch triple from the left side and made it 86-81. WCU pulled back within three with 18 seconds to go, but Brown made good on a pair of free throws and then one more at the end to ice it.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
COMING UP NEXT
With an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line, the Southern Conference Basketball Championships are set to begin on Thursday, March 2 in Asheville, N.C.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 2
#1 Wofford vs. #8 Western Carolina — 11 a.m.
#4 UNC Greensboro vs. #5 Mercer — 1:15 p.m.
#2 Chattanooga vs. #7 Furman — 3:30 p.m.
#3 East Tennessee State vs. #6 Samford — 5:45 p.m.
Semifinals – Friday, March 3
Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner — 11 a.m.
Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner — 1:15 p.m.
Final — Sunday, March 5
Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner — 12 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.