Bucs get much-needed victory heading into conference play
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 28, 2013) – Led by balanced scoring, including three double-figure scorers, the ETSU women’s basketball team ended non-conference play on a positive note with an 87-76 win against the George Mason Patriots on Saturday afternoon inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center.
With the win, ETSU improves to 4-7 on the season while GMU drops to 5-7 overall.
Following a week break from competition over the Christmas holiday, the well-rested Buccaneers came out firing in the opening minutes of the contest. ETSU scored the first eight points of the game, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.). Following the Blue and Gold’s initial flurry, Mason settled down and answered with a 13-3 run over the next four minutes to take a 13-11 lead with 14:49 left in the period. Back-and-forth play between the two teams continued throughout the half with 10 ties and 13 lead changes. A lay-in from GMU’s Taylor Brown with three seconds remaining sent the Bucs into the half trailing, 40-39.
After getting outrebounded in the first half by Mason, 25-17, the Bucs started the second period more aggressive on the boards and on the offensive end. Now in attack mode, ETSU coaxed the Patriots into foul trouble early in the half. As a result, the Blue and Gold reached the bonus with nearly 16 minutes remaining. The Bucs were able to increase their lead to seven points with 11:51 left but Mason responded with a 7-0 burst over the next minute to tie things up again. A critical juncture came around the five-minute mark when ETSU, clinging to a two-point lead, got a quick lay-in from Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and then abruptly turned GMU over which led to a Christopher made three-pointer to shift the momentum towards the Bucs. Down the stretch, the Blue and Gold ran efficient offense and knocked down its free throws to allow it to come away with an 87-76 victory.
ETSU featured 10 players in the scoring column, highlighted by Clark with a team and career-high tying 21 points. Christopher also posted a career-high tying 17 points as well as a career-best five made three-pointers. Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) joined the aforementioned players in double-figures with 14 points including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line which is also a career-high. Meanwhile, George Mason got a game-high 31 points from Taylor Brown and also featured three additional double-figure scorers.
The Blue and Gold shot a solid 46 percent from the field for the game and also took advantage of its many opportunities from the charity stripe with 26-of-32 makes (81 percent). Additionally, the Bucs continued their strong play in the paint with 30 points and got good production from their bench with 18 points. Forty-four percent from downtown, 16 assists and 16 points off of 12 GMU turnovers also proved to be aids for ETSU in the victory.
George Mason shot a sub-standard 34 percent from the floor for the contest and struggled behind the arc at 25 percent. The Patriots did knock free throws down at a consistent clip (83 percent) and turned 18 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points. GMU also got out on the break with eight points compared to none for ETSU.
The Bucs will begin Atlantic Sun Conference action at home when it welcomes the Lipscomb Bisons to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m.
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