Two years ago, Tianna Tarter signed to the ETSU women’s basketball team, and ETSU has never looked back.
A Johnson City native and graduate of Science Hill High School, Tarter couldn’t bear to leave the town where her family resides because they inspire her to play the sport she loves.
Tarter remembers that at 4 years old, while watching her grandmother play basketball with her brother and cousin, she was invited to join and hasn’t stopped since.
In high school, Tarter was a part of 137 wins, including everything from regular season conference victories to district championships and even making it to the state semifinals her senior year.
Since entering ETSU in the freshman class of 2018, Tarter was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team and First-Team All-SoCon Tournament after an incredible first season. Tarter scored more than 10 points in almost half of her games and added in multiple rebounds and assists.
So far this season, Tarter is averaging 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Her all-time high in points scored is 33, and it will be no surprise when she tops it and continues to aim high.
When asked what her greatest accomplishment has been at ETSU, the answer was easily making it to the SoCon championship last season. In the game against Chattanooga, the Bucs were down by 20 at one point, but Tarter chooses to remember the lesson learned.
“We ended up coming back to tie it up and go into overtime,” Tarter said. “We lost, but it was just a realization that no matter how many points you’re down, you just keep going.”
Tarter is inspired to keep going by not only her friends and teammates, but even those she has never met before.
“Every home game, there’s a new person coming up to me saying they have been watching me since high school,” Tarter said.
It’s an encouragement and just another reason to continue to inspire fans that come to watch her, the way that she has been inspired by her family.
Tarter doesn’t just play because she’s good or to get praise from her teammates or unknown spectators, but because her father is the inspiration that got her to this point. He was always present at her games and wanted her to be her best.
“When I was younger, my father was always pushing me and my brother to do something we like in life,” Tarter recalled. “For my brother, it was football, and for me, it’s basketball.”
Only being a sophomore, Tarter has the rest of the 2015-16 season and two more years to break personal records, nail down a SoCon championship and make her father proud playing a sport she most definitely enjoys.