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Tarter signs with Lady Bucs

Staff Report • Apr 24, 2014 at 8:22 PM

East Tennessee State’s women’s basketball team will have very local feel next year.

Head coach Brittney Ezell made sure of that Thursday with the addition of Science Hill standout Tianna Tarter.

The 5-foot-6 guard committed to ETSU last week, but made it official on Thursday, signing a National Letter of Intent to join the Lady Bucs in the 2014-15 season.

“We are thrilled to announce the signing of Tianna Tarter to our program,” said Ezell. “She is a fierce competitor, a tremendously gifted player, and a true floor general. Tianna is one of the most decorated players in Science Hill history and we believe that she can be equally as impactful here at ETSU.”

Tarter was recently named to the Tennessee Sports Writer Association’s Class AAA all-state team for the third year in a row, and was the Big Seven Conference player of the year this season. As a senior she averaged 19 points, 5.4 assists and 3.3 steals, and made 75 percent of her free throws in 2013-14. She was an integral part of 137 victories, including 50 straight regular season wins, during her time at Science Hill.

Tarter and the Lady ’Toppers won four conference and district championships and three regular season conference crowns. Science Hill went 31-1 this year, which included an appearance in the Region 1 Class AAA state semis.

“Tianna is a fierce competitor who hates losing,” Science Hill girls basketball coach and athletic director Keith Turner said. “She is definitely a high-major player who shines against top competition.”

“It is very beneficial for the ETSU women’s basketball program to have local players stay home and play for the Bucs. I think having this can help generate more community interest in the program.”

Tarter drew interest from schools like Ole Miss, Tennessee Tech and Wright State. She also considered Chipola College (Fla.), which reached the NJCCA Final Four this season, and Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, Texas), which has produced at least nine pro players since 1994, including former Tennessee Lady Vols point guard Shannon Bobbitt.

“I am excited about having the opportunity to stay close to home and play in front of my family and friends,” Tarter said. “Coach Ezell and her staff are building something special. I can’t wait to be a part of it all for the next four years and bring some excitement back to Bucs fans.”

Bringing local talent to ETSU is a priority for Ezell and Tarter’s signing is the latest example.

“It is always great to be able to keep homegrown talent here in Johnson City,” said Ezell, “as Tianna will join her AAU teammate, Mendy McNeese of North Greene, in this signing class.”

Tarter is the fifth addition to the 2014 recruiting class which also includes Kaylee Barnard of Orlando, Fla., Shomari Kendrick of Lexington, Ky., Malloree Schurr of Montgomery, Texas and McNeese from Greeneville.

“Tianna is a fantastic addition to our program,” said Ezell, “and to an already strong recruiting class.”

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