There was no fear in the eyes of ETSU’s sophomore guard Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) with 12 seconds remaining in the game as she passed the defender with a vicious crossover and finished at the rim with the layup and a foul.
The two points from the lay-up and the point at the free throw line gave her team a 55-53 win over Mercer on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Macon, Ga.
“We fought so hard to come back,” Tarter said. “I was just trying to find ways to help my team. I was thinking that I need to finish through contact.”
Tarter ended the game with 22 points, and 11 of those came from the fourth quarter alone.
With 1:58 remaining in the third quarter, Mercer reached their largest lead of the game as they led the Bucs 43-33. A free-throw from Tarter pushed the lead to only nine, but there was a little pressure on the Bucs heading into the final quarter of the game.
As the minutes went by in the final quarter the Bucs began scoring more and more goals. The team trimmed the lead during a 6-0 run in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. They kept it close and pulled it out by the end of the game.
“Before entering the fourth quarter I told them we were in good shape and right where we needed to be,” said ETSU women’s basketball head coach Brittney Ezell. “I told them that if they would dig in defensively that we would have a chance to win at the end, and they did.”
Senior Chandler Christopher (Greeneville, Tenn.) was also a big help to the Bucs. She finished the game with 10 points and two assists, added six points to the Bucs’ 12-2 lead in the first quarter and scored a lay-up late in the fourth to bring their team within three.
“Chandler epitomizes our blue collar — gold standard motto,” Ezell said. “She does all the dirty work defensively and communicates constantly. Her work ethic is contagious and inspiring.”
The Bucs shot 36.5 percent from the field, 21.1 percent from the 3-point line and 52 percent from the free throw line. They out-rebounded Mercer 44-33 and finished with 10 points from the bench compared to Mercer’s seven.
The Bucs next game will be in Brooks Gym against their rival Chattanooga on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.