Freshman Erica Haynes-Overton scored a career-best 29 points and senior Tianna Tarter came through with 20 in the Bucs’ 90-67 win Friday night at Brooks Gym. Each of them had four assists, and they also starred on the defensive end with eight steals for Haynes-Overton and seven for Tarter.
The efforts took their toll on them. Haynes-Overton suffered from laryngitis and Tarter was worn out after playing 38 minutes.
ETSU improved to 7-8, while the Crusaders fell to 1-9.
“I thought Tianna showed a remarkable amount of leadership in the locker room at halftime,” ETSU coach Brittney Ezell said. “Erica had a great bounce back. She wasn’t very good against Northern Kentucky and she will be the first to tell you that. Then, Raven (Dean) comes back in her first game back and gets 13 rebounds in 22 minutes. There were some really good things we can point at. Not a bad game with 90 points after five days off.”
The Bucs controlled the boards with 52 rebounds and held a 40-22 scoring advantage in the paint. Dean led the Bucs with a team-best 13 rebounds and Sadasia Tipps grabbed nine, including six on the offensive end. It was Dean’s first game back after missing the last four games with a knee injury.
“I didn’t know how I was going to come out and play, being my first game back,” Dean said. “I just told my team that I was going to give the effort and play hard. But, I felt good. It wasn’t until the end that I felt a little pain.”
The game didn’t go according to Ezell’s plans at times, with ETSU leading 42-29 at the half. The Bucs raced out to a 61-35 lead early in the third quarter before the Crusaders cut the lead to 15 points later in the quarter.
However, ETSU answered and quickly got the game back well in hand. The Bucs forced 27 turnovers and outscored North Greenville 24-6 in fast-break points.
“We’re resilient and pretty tough when we get out and pressure and anticipate,” Ezell said. “They’re fun to coach. They genuinely care about one another and they care how they perform. You can do a lot of things when people care.”
ETSU will play Southern Conference games for the rest of the regular season, starting off with a home game against Western Carolina next Thursday.