Second half run propels Bucs past Longwood

Published 11:18 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

ETSU earns 11th non-conference win, ties modern era record
 
 JOHNSON CITY – A two-point deficit in the third quarter turned into a double-digit lead in a matter of minutes on Tuesday, as ETSU women’s basketball earned a memorable 69-52 win over Longwood inside Brooks Gym in Johnson City.
 The Bucs now have 11 non-conference wins, matching the 1983-84 team for the most non-conference wins in modern program history. The Southern Conference began sponsoring a women’s basketball championship in the 1983-84 season.
 ETSU, now 11-3 on the campaign, completes a three-game sweep of Big South Conference opponents tonight with wins over Charleston Southern, UNC Asheville and Longwood over the last three games. Longwood drops to 1-10 on the season.
 The game started as a see-saw affair in the first half with seven lead changes but took a shift in the third quarter as the Bucs turned a 36-34 deficit into a 51-36 lead with 1:48 remaining in the frame. From there, ETSU coasted to its 11th win of the season.
 Despite being short two starters on Tuesday, four players finished in double figures scoring, led by Nevaeh Brown (Charlotte, N.C.) with 16 points to go with a career-high seven rebounds and a career-high matching five assists. Meleah Kirtner (Wytheville, Va.) notched a career-high 10 points to go with eight rebounds.
 The other two players in double figures were graduate guard Jiselle Thomas (Norwalk, Ohio) with 11 points and sophomore post Jakhyia Davis (Knoxville, Tenn.) with 10 points off the bench.
 Graduate post Jayla Ruffus-Milner (North Hills, Cailf.) led the rebounding efforts with nine boards, as ETSU out-rebounded the Lancers 45-35 with five players turning in at least five rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
 First Quarter: ETSU started with an 18-14 lead in the first frame, powered by seven points from Meleah Kirtner and six from Thomas. Kirtner started her scoring with an offensive rebound turned into a tip-in layup, then added a triple on the next possession.
Second Quarter: By the halftime break, the lead had changed seven times as a made three-pointer by Longwood’s Alyssa Chapman put the Lancers ahead 24-22 at the 4:51 mark. From there, ETSU took back the lead three times, including a jumper by Nevaeh Brown with 2:20 to go, a three-pointer by Sarah Thompson (Gate City, Va.) at the 1:24 mark and a pair of go-ahead free throws by Brown near the halftime buzzer.
Third Quarter: A game-tying lay-up by Brown brought the score to 36 apiece at the 7:14 mark — sending ETSU off to the races with 17 unanswered points and a 25-6 run to end the quarter. Brown also had the go-ahead basket and went on a personal 6-0 run, then Courtney Moore (Gainesville, Fla.) sent the crowd into a frenzy with a three-pointer in the corner at the 5:13 mark, forcing a Longwood timeout. ETSU outscored Longwood 27-11 in the frame.
Fourth Quarter: Only 10 points were scored by each team in the final frame, as both teams played out the stretch with the Bucs comfortably ahead. The ETSU defense did what it does best in the final frame, keeping Longwood off the board for over a six minute stretch to lead by as many as 24 with a 68-44 lead.
 
 INSIDE THE NUMBERS 
  • ETSU improves to a 5-1 record inside Brooks Gym this season.
  • The last time ETSU had over 10 wins in a season was the 2017-18 campaign, where the Bucs finished 20-13 overall and 11-3 in SoCon play. ETSU also went 10-3 at home that season.
  • Both teams shot fairly even with ETSU finishing at 39 percent (23-59) and Longwood at 35.6 percent (21-59). The Bucs doubled-up Longwood on three-point shooting (6 to 3) and had 10 more successful free throws (17 to 7).
  • Longwood outscored ETSU in the second quarter 17-14, but ETSU remedied this with a 20-point advantage over the other three quarters. The third quarter saw the biggest margin, with ETSU outscoring the Lancers 27-11.
  • The Bucs had a 45-35 advantage in rebounding with five more offensive and defensive rebounds than the Lancers.
  • The Bucs had 22 points from the bench, led by Davis with 10 and Thompson with nine.
  • Thompson had three of ETSU’s six triples, while Moore and Kirtner made up the other three.
  • Brown shot 5-11 from the floor and 6-7 at the charity stripe.
  • In all 11 wins this season, ETSU has held its opponent under 60 points and under 40 percent shooting.
  • ETSU has also outrebounded the opponent and led at the halftime break in all 11 wins.
 
 COMING UP NEXT
 ETSU returns to action on Thursday for a neutral site game against Mount St. Mary’s. The game will take place in Cherokee, N.C. at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort as the nightcap of the Cherokee Invitational. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
 
For more information on Buccaneer women’s hoops, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s basketball page.

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