JOHNSON CITY, TN- With the season a little over a month away, the ETSU women’s basketball team officially kicked off preseason practice inside Brooks Gym on Monday night.
Monday nights practice started off with fourth year head coach Brittney Ezell addressing her players on the keys for the first practice along with the vision and goals for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“The first practice is just figuring out how I can put them in the best position in order to be successful,” said Ezell.
Once the ball hit the court the Bucs were up and running as the first practice of the year featured full court one-on-one drills along with defensive footwork and positioning drills. The blue and gold also looked to beat the clock as the Bucs were paired up and had to go full court twice in just 15 seconds.
“We need them to work a little more on defending, rebounding, and really want them to work on communicating,” said Ezell. “That is a big part of what we are going to do the first week.
The 2016-17 campaign for the Buccaneers features 15 home games, the most since 2013 with Old Dominion, Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee visiting Johnson City. ETSU hosts the Lady Vols on Nov.15 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center for the first time since 1983. For ticket information, click here.
ETSU returns eight players including four starters from last year’s squad that went 16-14 and 8-6 in the Southern Conference. Included in the returnees are three All-SoCon performers in senior Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.), junior Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) and sophomore Raven Dean (Charlotte, N.C.).
Bridges had the hot hand from three-point line last season making 76 threes’, the fifth most in a single-season in ETSU history. Against Wofford last year, Bridges became the 22nd member of ETSU’s 1,000-point club. Johnson City native Tianna Tarter finished up the 2015-16 season strong recording double digit points in six of the final seven games including a team-high 25 versus Furman in the SoCon Tournament Quarterfinals.
“Last year we won 16 games, and played without our best player for nine, so feasibly could have won 20 games, again, but things change and life happens,” said Ezell. “Sometimes life gets into the way of sport and sometimes sport is a nice reprieve from life. We have got to be able to work through some adversity, pull together as a group and continue to represent our university in a first class way.”
Ezell also welcomes five newcomers to the 2016-17 squad in Jada Craig (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Anajae Stephney (Knoxville, Tenn.), Kelci Marosties (Elizabethton, Tenn.), Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) and Micah Norris (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).
The Bucs begin the 2016-17 campaign on Friday, Nov.11 when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to take on Big East Conference opponent Butler inside Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics