JOHNSON CITY, TN- After a slow start the ETSU Women’s Basketball team was unable to mount a comeback as the Buccaneers dropped their first Southern Conference home game, 71-56 to Mercer on Saturday afternoon.
Leading the way for ETSU was sophomore Raven Dean (Charlotte, N.C.) who recorded her third straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Dean from the floor shot a staggering 70 percent (7-of-10) while also knocking down a three-pointer. In the past three games, Dean is averaging 14.3 points and 10 rebounds per game while recording four straight games of at least 10 rebounds.
Matching Dean with 15 points was senior Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) on 5-of-19 shooting from the field and 4-of-13 shooting form long distance. The senior guard has now scored in double figures in 10 of the last 11 games.
All-American candidate and reigning SoCon Player of the Week junior Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) collected 12 points, five rebounds and five assists on the afternoon. The Johnson City, Tenn., native went 8-of-9 from the free-throw line and scored in double figures for the seventh straight game.
Offensively the Bucs shot just 30.6 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from three-point range. Ranking in the top 20 in the country in free-throw attempts and makes, the Bucs went just 13-of-25 from the charity stripe against the Bears. The big three of Bridges, Dean and Tarter combined to score 42 of ETSU’s 56 points.
The loss snapped ETSU’s five game winning streak, giving the blue and gold an overall record of 14-10 and 6-3 in conference play. The Bucs will have nearly a week off before hosting SoCon foe Chattanooga on Friday, Feb.10 at 7:00 p.m. inside Brooks Gym. Friday’s game against Chattanooga will be a GOLD OUT!
It was not the start the Bucs imagined as ETSU went 1-of-14 from the field in the first quarter to score a season-low three points. In the first, Mercer embarked on a 17-2 run including 10 straight points to end the quarter to jump out to a 23-3 lead after the first ten minutes of play.
The blue and gold clawed their way back in the second quarter outscoring the Bears, 19-8. ETSU made their comeback happen with an 8-0 run midway through the quarter, with six points coming from Bridges on back-to-back three’s. Ultimately it ended up being a 16-2 run for ETSU, making seven of nine field goals to cut the Mercer lead to single digits at halftime, 31-22.
In the third, Mercer again extended their lead to 20 points as the Bears outscored the Bucs, 12-3 through the first six minutes of the third. A four-point play by Bridges with 24 seconds left in the quarter capped a 6-1 run for the Buccaneers to end the third.
ETSU got to within eight points with three minutes to play in the fourth but was unable to garner one last push for a comeback as the Bears went on a 10-3 run down the stretch to clinch the 71-56 victory.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics