Winter break was not much of a “break” for the East Tennessee State University women’s basketball team. After students were free from school for winter break, the team worked hard.
The last game before returning to school for the spring semester, the Bucs battled their big-time rival and defending Southern Conference champions the Chattanooga Lady Mocs on Jan. 14. The East Tennessee, Chattanooga rivalry has always been a favorite for fans, coaches and players.
Notwithstanding the fourth quarter effort by ETSU, being outscored in the first three quarters (16-11,13-9,18-11) of the game made it difficult for the Bucs to claim victory.
“Before games we write on the board, ‘Don’t lose to ETSU,’” said Head Coach Brittney Ezell. “And I thought we did that today.”
The Bucs turned the tables and outscored the Mocs 14-13 in the final quarter, but they were defeated 60-45.
ETSU scored a season-low 45 points on 25.8 percent shooting.
“When you shoot less than 30 percent from the glory and 17 percent from three, you are not giving yourself a chance,” Ezell said. “But that’s not to take anything from Chattanooga. They are well coached and they do a really great job.”
Tiana Tarter (Johnson City, Tenn.) finished with a game-high 19 points, 12 coming in the fourth quarter. Her teammate Raven Dean (Charlotte, N.C.) also did well in the second half of the game. She recorded her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
This was the first time the two teams have met this season. Last season the women met twice, where UTC came out victorious 65-57 in the first game and 66-42 in the second.
The Bucs will host the Mocs in Buccaneer territory for the “Gold out” game on Feb. 10 where they will seek revenge. Including the Chattanooga game, the Bucs played in eight games over break, including the University of Miami Holiday Tournament.
Out of the eight games, the Bucs won four and lost four. They came out victorious against Tennessee Tech, Coppin State, Old Dominion and Samford. They were defeated by Elon, Maine, Mercer and Chattanooga.
The next game will be today at 7 p.m. against UNC Greensboro at home in Brooks gym and another Saturday at home against Western Carolina.