Back in January, following a narrow victory against Wofford, Head Coach Brittney Ezell took the time to talk about what sets ETSU apart: toughness. Just a few weeks later, the Bucs seized the opportunity to showcase that toughness.
Chattanooga had already fallen once to the Bucs in Brooks Gym and were looking for revenge in their home territory. The Mocs started their offensive attack early and often, jumping out to a 13-2 lead. The Bucs wouldn’t be contained forever though, and the first quarter ended with the Mocs ahead 18-10.
ETSU doesn’t excel when playing from behind. Since starting conference play, the Bucs have only won one game when trailing for at least half the game, and that was against the Chattanooga Mocs back in January. Maybe that is what the team was thinking about deep into the third quarter, when they were trailing 29-45 behind the Mocs.
With three minutes to go in the period, the Bucs made a run led by Tianna Tarter (Johnson City, Tennessee) and Shy Copney (Johnson City, Tennessee), who both made buckets and assisted teammates to bring the Bucs within 7 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, neither team wanted to give up this win. For almost three minutes no team scored a point. Finally, with just over five minutes to play, ETSU made its run. They capped the game off with an 18-5 run, beating the Mocs in the comeback victory 61-55.
This was also the first game back for freshman Erica Haynes-Overton (Nashville, Tennessee), who has not played since the loss to the Mercer Bears in late January. She played significant minutes coming off the bench, and put up 12 points on 9 shots.
For the past three games without Haynes-Overton, Ezell has started a tall lineup, putting four forwards around Tarter, the sole guard. However, Ezell starts this lineup at the beginning of the first and second half’s, before quickly subbing in her bench rotations. This lineup with forward Raven Dean (Charlotte, North Carolina) filling the slot for Haynes-Overton does not spend much time on the court together and won’t probably see much action during the post-season when Haynes-Overton returns to the starting lineup.
ETSU has four more conference match-ups before the begin of the SoCon Tournament. They currently sit at the No. 2 spot in the SoCon. If the tournament started today, ETSU would play against Wofford in the first round, a team they have already beat once this season and will play again on Thursday.