Photo by ETSUBucs.com.

The Buccaneers have protected Brooks Gym from enemies for months before they finally succumbed to defeat Saturday when they lost their first home game of the season.

The ETSU women’s basketball team could not get the ball rolling against the strong defensive performance by the Chattanooga Mocs.

“Our effort was not what we are accustomed to putting out,” said ETSU coach Brittney Ezell. “Our energy was bad, our ‘buy in’ was bad and I will take the blame. I’m extremely disappointed in our effort, our engagement and our ‘buy in’ to the scouting report.”

The Bucs shot 38.6 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from the 3-point line and despite shooting 87.5 percent from free throw line, they only visited the line eight times compared to UTC’s 17.

“I thought we did a very good job defensively,” said Chattanooga coach Jim Foster.

“On the offensive end, I thought we got a lot of good ball movement. We took care of the ball and a variety of people took big shots. We shot well from the 3-point line, we were patient and we found Jas [Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.)] with our patience.”

The Bucs did a great job on the boards. They came down with 19 offensive rebounds compared to UTC’s eight.

They also outrebounded the No. 2 defensive rebounding team in the Southern Conference 19-16.

“We finished with 19 offensive rebounds and could not score 20 points off of the 19 offensive rebounds,” Ezell said.

“We outrebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the league, 38-24, and we did not get better production from that … That’s very upsetting.”

The duo of sophomore Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) and junior Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) was in full effect as they combined for 39 points.

Bridges scored the game high 23 points, and Tarter scored 17 points, nine of those in the final quarter.

Chattanooga had a few stars also, as they had three players score in double figures — Joyner with 19, Keiana Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) with 14 and Queen Alford (Decatur, Ga.) with 11.

With this loss, the Bucs still look forward to their first win against Chattanooga.

Once this is certain, many always come back to the gym to see the big Chattanooga and ETSU showdown.

“I’m told it was a rivalry,” Foster said. “I think it takes a period of time for that to reignite and move into that direction.”

The Bucs will next host the Wofford Lady Terriers in Brooks Gym for Education Day on Feb. 4 at 11 a.m.