East Tennessee State’s home game with Stetson on Monday was played under a leaking roof.
The Lady Bucs’ roster still has a hole in it, too.
One game after Brianna Bogard quit, coach Karen Kemp announced that sophomore forward Amy Duke has also left the team. They were in streetclothes in the MSHA Athletic Center, watching ETSU hang around for 32 minutes before fading to a 71-55 defeat against the Atlantic Sun-leading Hatters (6-0, 13-4).
“I won’t say it was as big of a shock as Bogard the other day,” said Kemp, whose team fell to 1-4 in the league and 3-9 overall. “But they’re really good friends and she (Duke) was not happy with her limited minutes on the court. What she told me was that she wanted to try to go somewhere where she could play a lot more. ... You can’t make everybody happy when you can only have five out there at one given time.”
Stetson got 22 points from senior guard Shanasa Sanders and 21 points from sophomore shooting guard Jamie Sharp whose smooth shooting stroke helped her make 3 of 4 from 3-point range while looking like a player from Indiana.
Senior point guard Victoria McGowan flirted with a triple-double (10 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) for the Hatters, who forced 21 turnovers and scored frequently in transition.
“They’re 6-0 in the league now, and we knew they had experience coming in against our youth,” Kemp said. “But I’m really pleased, and it may be different once I go home tonight and watch the film; I may be a little bit more disappointed than I am right now. But I really feel good about the way this team competed for the majority of the game.”
It was the first victory in Johnson City for fifth-year Stetson coach Lynn Bria. She won’t forget it for a variety of reasons, including the fact that ETSU staffers were continuously mopping the floor at mid-court near the sideline during the game.
“It’s good for our program to get that monkey off of our back,” Bria said. “The last two times we’ve been here we’ve come real close, and it’s been a little bit frustrating. ... It was ugly at times, but we fought through some adversity in a place where we have never won before with some extreme circumstances with the water on the floor, and having to deal with that.”
The game likely would’ve been moved to the adjacent Brooks Gym had University High not been playing.
“Never had a situation like that, never seen anything like that,” Bria said. “I’m glad we went ahead and played the game and worked it out.”
ETSU was led by sophomore wing Cara Bowling. She made 4 of 7 from behind the arc and things would’ve gotten interesting if she’d gone 5 for 7. Bowling had a chance for a four-point play, that would’ve cut Stetson’s lead to 51-47 with 8:54 remaining.
But her trey from the right corner rolled off the rim after staying on it for what seemed like seconds, and Bowling subsequently saw two of her three foul shots rattle out, too. Stetson’s lead was instead 51-44, and the Lady Hatters responded with a 7-0 running.
“I thought it was gonna fall, but it didn’t. ... I’ve gotta knock those (free throws) down,” said Bowling, who finished with a team-high 15 points.
No other Lady Buc reached double figures.
“She (Bowling) has got a lot of confidence right now,” Kemp said. “She’s feeling a lot more comfortable with her team. ... Eight minutes to go and we cut it to six or seven and really felt good where we were at that point. ... I felt like our young ladies — they worked extremely hard. They played their heart out. I told them in the locker that if they continue to do that things are gonna turn around, you know, for this basketball team.”
ETSU experienced feast and famine with freshman point guard Brianna McQueen. She had 10 turnovers, but two of her three assists showcased her talent.
One was a lob into a small window to Destiny Mitchell (eight points, 11 rebounds, four steals) and the other was a crisp pass that got Maria Bond a layup after McQueen drove just past the foul line via a behind-the-back dribble.
Serena Clark scored eight points for ETSU. McQueen had seven, as did Bond. Shawn Randall had five assists.
ETSU visits Kennesaw State on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.