How coachable is Serena Clark?
Karen Kemp, the East Tennessee State women’s basketball coach, told Clark she needed to hit the boards. So the transfer from Clemson pulled down 19 rebounds in the Lady Bucs’ second exhibition-game win.
Destiny Mitchell scored 25 points and Clark dominated the glass as ETSU closed its exhibition season Monday night with a 79-59 victory over Young Harris College at the Minidome.
“Coach Kemp expects a lot from her post players as far as rebounding,” said Clark, a 6-foot-2 sophomore. “You don’t want to get yelled out so ... just boxing out and going up strong. She stressed that to us so we go out and do it.”
Shawn Randall added 14 points, Amy Duke had 12 and Brianna McQueen had 11 for the Lady Bucs, who open the regular season Saturday with a non-conference game at High Point.
Clark added nine points in her team-high 32 minutes of action.
“She got every rebound,” said Mitchell, who went 10 for 16 from the field and had nine rebounds of her own. “She gets all the rebounds ... ALL of them. She’s a great rebounder.”
The Lady Bucs were admittedly flat in the beginning. They missed five of their first six shots and turned the ball over eight times while falling behind 9-2. They managed to pull ahead 36-28 by halftime.
In the second half, ETSU’s depth and athleticism wore down the Young Harris players.
“The second half, I thought we came out with a lot of energy,” Kemp said. “We put our press on and got us a little more energetic and created some turnovers. If it were up to my staff, we would do it from the time we tip it up to the time we finish.”
Breanna Gleason and Ladondra Johnson led Young Harris, an NCAA Division II school in Northeast Georgia, with 17 points apiece.
It was a reunion for Kemp with her mentor. Young Harris coach Brenda Paul coached Kemp at Berry College.
“I have so much respect for her,” Kemp said. “She’s not just my former coach. She’s my friend. She’s my mentor. She’s the reason I do what I do today. She gave me my first job at Mississippi State.”
ETSU made 8 of 18 free throws and went 5 of 21 from 3-point range while shooting 43 percent overall.
The ETSU press turned the game into a hectic affair in the second half, and the Lady Bucs took advantage. They out-rebounded Young Harris 52-39 and created 33 turnovers.
“This team, we’re gonna be able to do a lot more things because we are more athletic and we have size,” said Kemp, whose team turned it over 22 times. “We’re not just big but, we have size and quickness.”