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|March 19, 2023||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||GS||ETSU|
|FG Percentage||.293 (17-58)||.593 (32-54)|
|3P FG Percentage||.118 (2-17)||.542 (13-24)|
|FT Percentage||.619 (13-21)||.826 (19-23)|
Stokes - 2
Thompson - 1
Thomas - 1
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 19, 2023) – When a team’s basketball season ends in late March, one can usually expect a lot of success. The ETSU women’s basketball team took that theory to a whole new level this season — and ended on a win.
The Bucs saw their magical season draw to a close in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) third-place game on Sunday evening, blasting Georgia Southern with a dominant 96-49 victory inside the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Ky.
The season ends with a 25-10 record — officially entering the record books with the most single-season wins in program history and with the largest turnaround in NCAA D1 basketball this season. This ETSU team will also go down in NCAA D1 women’s basketball history as one of most improved teams of all-time — going from a 6-22 record last season to 25-10 this season for 19 wins improved and a 15.5 games improved figure.
All of this was accomplished under first year ETSU coach Brenda Mock Brown — the 2022-23 Southern Conference Coach of the Year. Mock is currently the only coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to guide two programs to 15 or more games improved from season-to-season. She last did this in 2015-16 with UNC Asheville, going from 9-22 to 26-7. This year’s turnaround ranks seventh all-time in the history of NCAA D1 women’s basketball.
Today’s game marked the end of a stellar career for one Buccaneer — graduate guard Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio). The Norwalk, Ohio native finished with 23 points on Sunday and put herself in elite company as a member of the 1,500 career point club. Thomas scored 527 of her points in her one season at ETSU and finishes with 1,522 career points. She also had nine rebounds and seven assists for a near-triple double.
A great milestone to end on for @thomas_jiselle 🏀— ETSU WBB (@ETSU_WBB) March 20, 2023
Congrats on 1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ JT!#FaithfulForForty | #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/LZ5BaRa5cr
While Thomas was the one bestowed the honor of slapping on the sticker indicating the team’s third place finish, every player had a hand in today’s victory. All 10 players that played scored at least once. The Bucs — even without the services of all-conference guard Kendall Folley (Lebanon, Ohio) — posted their highest scoring total of the season with 96 points, while holding Georgia Southern (21-10) to under 50 points.
Putting the STAMP on this season 💙💛#FaithfulForForty l #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/33hlFb1IRN— ETSU WBB (@ETSU_WBB) March 19, 2023
True freshman Journee McDaniel (New Bern, N.C.) shined bright with a game-high 26 points, going flawless behind the arc with seven made triples — the most by an ETSU player this season. McDaniel is just the fifth player in school history to make seven or more threes in a game.
As a team, the Bucs shot 32-54 from the floor for 59.3 percent, while going 13-24 behind the arc for 54.2 percent. The three-pointers helped ETSU set a single-season record of 228, passing the 2009-10 team that held the record at 222 up until today.
After making her 100th career three-pointer in the Southern Conference tournament, Courtney Moore (Gainesville, Fla.) was also a key component throughout the WBI. She finished today with 17 points, going 4-of-8 from downtown.
Dominating the boards, Jakhyia Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) had a game-high 10 rebounds to go with six points. Coming in late off the bench, freshman Ella Boyle (Roswell, Ga.) also had six points to go with four rebounds. Nevaeh Brown (Charlotte, N.C.) and Sarah Thompson (Gate City, Va.) each had five points with one three-pointer apiece.
The trio of Megan Downing (New Madison, Ohio), hometown hero Jaileyah Cotton (Bardstown, Ky.) and Meleah Kirtner (Wytheville, Va.) combined for eight points, while Cotton added three assists.
Other keys stats in the victory include a 41-25 advantage on the boards for ETSU, as well as a defensive shooting percentage of 29.3 from the floor and 11.8 behind the arc — holding the Eagles to just two triples. Also, the Bucs never trailed, starting the game on an 8-0 run.
The Blue & Gold also had an 8-0 run to make it 23-8, a 15-0 run in the second quarter to make it 41-14 and an 11-0 run to go up 74-35 at the end of the third quarter. In the final minute, Kirtner hit a lay-up to give ETSU its largest lead of the game at 96-49 — which ended up being the final score.
Outside of the single-season three-point record set today, many records were set this season. This includes the best margin of victory (69), fewest points allowed in a game (26), fewest points combined (75) in a 44-31 win over Vanderbilt, single-game three-pointers (16), the best turnaround in a single season (19 wins improved), the most total wins (25) and the most non-conference wins (13).
Thomas is the only graduating player from ETSU this season, as fellow graduate Jayla Ruffus-Milner (North Hills, Calif.) has made her intentions known to return next season with her final year of eligibility.
The end of a stellar career - @thomas_jiselle 👏👏👏#FaithfulForForty l #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/6sXzxhXVKf— ETSU WBB (@ETSU_WBB) March 19, 2023
FINAL WBI RESULTS
Round 1 – Friday, March 17
ETSU 81, FIU 56
New Mexico State 51, UIC 41
Cal Baptist 96, North Dakota 79
Georgia Southern 69, NIU 58
Round 2 – Saturday, March 18
FIU 68, UIC 65 — Consolation
New Mexico State 57, ETSU 53 — Winner’s Bracket
North Dakota 102, NIU 99 (OT) — Consolation
Cal Baptist 82, Georgia Southern 80 (OT) — Winners Bracket
Round 3 — Sunday, March 19
UIC 71, NIU 56 7th place game
FIU 76, UND 73 Consolation Final
ETSU 96, GS 49 3rd place game
CBU 63, NMSU 61 Championship Game
What an awesome way to end an awesome season 👏— ETSU WBB (@ETSU_WBB) March 19, 2023
The Bucs finish the campaign with a 25-10 record, the most wins in school history and the best turnaround in NCAA D1 Women's Basketball this season.
Thank you for being part of it, Buc Nation 💙💛#FaithfulForForty | #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/rjGaKDUx1n
For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.