Strong second half effort lifts Lady Bucs past Chattanooga, 77-60

Saturday, November 13, 2010

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 12, 2010)
- The ETSU women's basketball team closed out the final 9 minutes, 41 seconds of the game on a 27-8 run, and the Lady Bucs cruised to a 77-60 victory over Chattanooga Friday night inside McKenzie Arena. 
The win marked the second straight year the Lady Bucs opened the season with victory over their in-state rival, and it's the first ETSU win in Chattanooga since head coach Karen Kemp's squad defeated UTC, 55-50, in the 2005 SoCon Tournament.
Senior Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led all scorers, tying her career-high with 23 points, while freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) recorded a double-double in her first collegiate game. Mitchell ended with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
"This is a very good feeling to come into Chattanooga and walk away with a win in the season opener," said Kemp. "I am very pleased with our performance down the stretch and it took a total team effort to earn this victory.
"T.D. (Tara Davis) showed us why she is the leader out there for us, and I thought Destiny and Iesha both played very well tonight. To have a double-double in her first college game shows what type of player Destiny is, and Iesha hit some clutch shots during our run late in the game."   
In the first half, Davis scored ten of the first 18 Lady Buccaneer points and ETSU led by seven (18-11) after the senior guard sank a pair of free throws at the 11:49 mark. Davis continued lighting things up for the Lady Bucs as she scored the next five points for the Blue and Gold, putting ETSU up 23-13 after laying one in with less than ten minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Lady Bucs went cold - going the next four-plus minutes without a point - and Chattanooga grabbed a 26-23 lead when Whitney Hood laid one in with 5:44 left before the break. However, with the Lady Mocs up two (29-27), Davis stepped up and knocked down her third three-pointer of the half, giving ETSU a 30-27 lead; and the Lady Bucs went into the break up one, 34-33.
Davis led all scorers at the break with 18 points as the Lady Bucs shot 39.4 percent (13-33), while Hood and Kayla Christopher paced Chattanooga with ten points.  
The opening five minutes of the second half were tightly contested as there were three ties and five lead changes within that span, but with the game knotted at 42, ETSU rattled off six straight points to take a 48-42 advantage after Iesha Robinson (Martinsburg, W. Va.) sank one of her three three-point field goals at the 12:49 mark. However, Chattanooga posted a 7-0 run to regain a 52-50 lead, but the Lady Bucs didn't back down as ETSU outscored the Lady Mocs, 27-8, in the final ten minutes of the game to walk away with the 17-point victory.
The Lady Bucs shot 46.0 percent (29-63) for the contest and ETSU outscored UTC, 36-22, in the paint. Meanwhile, ETSU held the Lady Mocs to a 33.3 shooting clip (21-63).
Davis dished out seven of the Lady Bucs' 16 assists, while ETSU also out-rebounded Chattanooga, 45 to 40. 
Joining Davis and Mitchell in double figures were Robinson and junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.). Robinson finished with 11 points in 19 minutes of action, while Washington added 17 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Chattanooga had three score in double figures as Christopher led the way with 16 points.
ETSU faces a quick turnaround as the Lady Bucs return home to face Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
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