NASHVILLE -- Her team desperately needed a win Saturday night, and Brianna McQueen made sure it happened.
The freshman guard scored a season-high 23 points, including five straight down the stretch, as East Tennessee State defeated Lipscomb 80-74 to snap a four-game losing streak.
“I used to do that in high school, and it was nice to make some plays for us to win tonight,” said McQueen, who was a high-scoring recruit out of Jonesboro, Ga. “It’s been kind of a struggle for the team lately, but we’re fighting through it.”
The Lady Bucs (2-6) hadn’t won since Dec. 2 at Morehead State. They dropped their Atlantic Sun Conference opener at South Carolina Upstate on Wednesday.
The victory over Lipscomb (1-11) was their 12th straight in the series.
“We didn’t start out very well in the conference at Upstate,” said coach Karen Kemp, “and we stressed to the girls that we have to beat the people we’re supposed to beat on paper. We needed this one.”
The Lady Bucs scored the last nine points of the game after Lipscomb had taken a 74-71 lead on two free throws by Kelli Smith with 3:57 to play.
McQueen gave them the lead for good when she spun into the lane and rolled in a scoop shot off the glass with 1:46 left. She was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to make it 76-74.
McQueen then sealed the deal when she made two more free throws with 20 seconds left.
“My freshman guard came up big for us tonight,” said Kemp. “She does play like a freshman sometimes, but she always has heart. She’s one of those players with icewater running through her veins.”
McQueen’s previous high this season was 18 against High Point in the season opener. She had been shooting just 25 percent from the field, but was an efficient 8 of 13 Saturday night.
The Lady Bucs also got 13 points from Shawn Randall, but the sophomore was 4 of 16 from the field. Serena Clark had her first double-double of the season, with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
It was another quiet night for Destiny Mitchell. The all-conference forward went 1-for-5 from the field and scored five points -- the fourth straight game she has scored in single figures.
“My girl Destiny is in a little bit of a shooting slump,” said Kemp. “If we can get her going and keep McQueen and Selena Clark going, we’ll be fine.
“The pieces are there; we just have some growing pains. It’s mostly freshmen and sophomores who are out there playing.”
Lipscomb was led by Alex Bank, with 15 points. Hannah Phillips and Presley Stastny scored 14 apiece.
The Lady Bucs committed just seven turnovers and held a 49-39 rebounding advantage. They shot 36 percent from the field but were 18 of 23 from the foul line.
The Lady Bucs make their first visit to league newcomer Northern Kentucky on Monday night.