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ETSU women solve Chattanooga, take sole possession of first place

Gene Renfro • Jan 12, 2018 at 11:19 PM

JOHNSON CITY—The Southern Conference had three undefeated teams in league play entering the day. That number fell to two when East Tennessee State derailed Chattanooga 65-58 on Friday night at Brooks Gym.

Taking over sole possession of first place in the SoCon at 3-0 (Mercer is 2-0), the Bucs improved to 10-8 behind a four-game winning streak. This marks the best conference start for ETSU since the 2014-15 squad went 6-0 to start the conference season.

Moreover, the Bucs snapped the Mocs’ 10-game winning streak in the series. The last ETSU triumph in the series was on Nov. 12, 2010 — a 77-60 non-conference outcome.

The victory was the first against Chattanooga in a Southern Conference clash since Dec. 29, 2001. Chattanooga slipped to 11-6 overall and 2-1 against SoCon foes.

“You don’t feel relieved, you don’t feel excited. It’s hard to explain,” said ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell. “I feel grateful for our fans, for the effort that our kids gave tonight. I feel almost like a fan for our players. I walked into that locker room and I wanted to cry because they’ve worked so hard.”

Seniors provide spark in win

Tianna Tarter posted her third double-double of the season with 17 points and a season-high 10 rebounds. She scored five points in the final quarter and led the team with four assists.

Tarter helped the Bucs overcome a third-quarter deficit of 48-46 as she tied the game at 51 with a 3-pointer 72 seconds into the fourth.

Fellow senior Malloree Schurr scored only four points in the game, but she knocked down a baseline jumper with 1:14 remaining. That extended ETSU’s lead to 63-58 as Tarter was credited with the assist. Chattanooga turned the ball over on its next possession to keep momentum with the home team.

Strong start and finish

The Bucs jumped out to a 23-14 lead after the first quarter, when ETSU went 10 of 17 from the field.

Freshman Erica Haynes-Overton was a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor en route to 13 opening-quarter points. She also accumulated six of her game-high seven steals; in comparison, the Mocs produced just four for the entire game.

Haynes-Overton finished with 21 points to pace the Bucs in scoring. She added five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

Anajae Stephney contributed 10 points for ETSU. Teammate Raven Dean coupled eight points with eight boards.

Mocs trio in triple digits

Keiana Gilbert totaled 22 points to lead all scorers. Lakelyn Bouldin and Adrianne Whitaker finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively.

The starting five for UTC combined to play 174 of the 200 minutes. In comparison, ETSU received 66 minutes from its bench as the Bucs’ reserves outscored UTC’s bench by a 21-3 margin.

What’s next for the Bucs?

The Bucs travel to Furman for a Wednesday contest, their first road conference game of the season. Last season, ETSU won both meetings against Furman.

Furman, at 2-1 before the game, takes on the University of North Carolina Greensboro Saturday.

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