Lady Bucs hope Mitchell can regain form

Joe Avento • Jan 10, 2013 at 9:44 PM

So far, the East Tennessee State basketball team has not been a team of Destiny.

The Lady Bucs are hoping that changes real soon.

While ETSU has lost five of its last six games, leading scorer Destiny Mitchell has become more and more reluctant to shoot.

Mitchell only took five shots — and made four — in the team’s last game, a 68-55 loss at Atlantic Sun Conference newcomer Northern Kentucky. She only had five shots in the previous game, and it’s been six games since she led the Lady Bucs in scoring.

“I know I haven’t been taking a lot of shots and that has to change,” Mitchell said before Thursday’s practice. “I don’t have much confidence in my shot right now. I just have to make a few.”

Of course, in order to make a few, she has to take a few. And that’s the vow of the junior forward who has been an All-Atlantic Sun selection her first two years at ETSU.

“They will be going up,” she said. “I have to get my confidence back.”

While Mitchell remains the team’s most efficient shooter, making almost 48 percent of her shots, she’s scored in single digits in four consecutive games, and her scoring average of 11.7 points a game is the lowest of her career. She seems to have recovered from a serious knee injury that prematurely ended her freshman year.

ETSU coach Karen Kemp, whose team is 3-7 overall, 1-2 in the A-Sun, says Mitchell has been getting the ball enough but hasn’t been launching shots like in past seasons.

“It’s a mental thing for her as well,” Kemp said. “She’s getting touches but she’s a little hesitant right now because her shot has not been falling.

Scorers are gonna have off nights. Once she gets that confidence back, I know we’ll see that Destiny we are accustomed to.

“I’ve never told a scorer not to shoot the basketball. It’s her that’s taking herself out of that, so hopefully she’ll be ready.”

With A-Sun power Florida Gulf Coast coming to town Saturday, all of the Lady Bucs better be ready. The Eagles come in 4-0 in the league.

“They’re still a really good team, but they’re not the same team they were a year ago,” Kemp said. “They graduated a lot of good players from that team. I’m telling my team if we can just do the little things, we can be in a position to win the game at the end.”

Gulf Coast is 11-5 overall and has won five games in a row. Included in that streak is a victory over LSU.

“They’re the top team in the league the last few years,” said Mitchell, who still remains among the A-Sun’s leading rebounders at 8.2 a game. “I feel we have enough confidence to beat them, and that we’re able to beat them.”

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