Destiny Mitchell could be back in uniform for the East Tennessee State women’s basketball team in a couple of weeks.
Coach Brittney Ezell said Wednesday that the senior forward will undergo a second MRI on her injured leg before the Vanderbilt game on Dec. 3.
“Hopefully she’ll be cleared for that game and we’ll be able to move on,” said Ezell. “What she has is the start of a stress fracture in the bone right below the knee. Our trainers and doctors think we caught it early.
“We really need to get Destiny back on the court as soon as we can because she’s stressing me out in practice. She keeps walking behind me and saying she’s bored.”
Mitchell, an all-conference player, was injured in an overtime loss at Memphis to open the season. She had 15 points and 10 rebounds in that game.
The Lady Bucs (1-1) end a nine-day layoff today when they host Morehead State in the opener of a double-header at Freedom Hall. Tipoff is 4:45 p.m., followed by the men’s game against Samford at 7.
The Lady Bucs haven’t played since winning at Appalachian State 81-72 on Nov. 12. It’s a victory that has had some staying power.
“The response from the ETSU faithful has been more overwhelming than I would have thought,” said Ezell, who is in her first season with the program after spending the last three at Belmont. “I didn’t really know the history of that rivalry, but I do now. People have come up to me in the grocery store and other places to congratulate me.”
The Lady Bucs were able to snap a four-game losing streak in the series without Mitchell and guards Brianna McQueen and Shamauria Bridges, who were suspended for breaking team rules.
Ezell said both will be available to play today in reserve roles.
Ezell and her coaching staff have taken the extra practice time to expand the gameplan for the long haul.
“It’s been kind of a long layoff, but we’ve been able to put in some new things,” said Ezell. “We’ve been a skeleton of what we want to do, just very bare bones. We’ve gotten a lot more development time in and spent the first five days of the nine off focused on us. Since then we’ve been looking at Morehead State and Saint Francis.”
Ezell hasn’t coached an official game yet in the Dome, so starting the home schedule at Freedom Hall is no big deal.
“I’m interested in how the Freedom Hall setup works, but I’ve been saying that we just need a floor and two baskets and a ball,” she said. “Of course, it’s nice to have the home fans there. I’ve told Dr. (Brian) Noland and Dr. (Richard) Sander we’re happy to play wherever we can get the most fans out.
“I really like Brooks (Gym). It has that old Indiana Hoosiers feel to it.”
While Ezell announced a fall recruiting class of four on Monday, the early signing period ended Wednesday with no official announcement on the men’s side.
The Bucs are expected to add 6-10 center Karl Overstreet of Lynchburg, Va., to the fold, and perhaps one other commitment. Overstreet is currently attending Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia but has been sidelined since breaking a hand in the preseason.
He will be ETSU’s tallest signee since the late Seth Coy in 2008.
Barring a victory or two in the NCAA tournament, the record-setting soccer career of David Geno is apparently over at ETSU.
The senior forward reinjured his foot during the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament and was on crutches Monday when the Bucs watched the NCAA draw unfold. They face Big South Conference champion Coastal Carolina tonight at 7 in Conway, S.C.
ETSU coach Scott Calabrese said Wednesday that his team will need to survive and advance for Geno to have a chance to get back on the field.
“It’s very doubtful that he’ll play in this game,” said Calabrese. “The good news is that we initially thought this might be another Jones fracture, which is the worst-case scenario, but it’s not a break.
“That’s great for David and potentially for our team. He might be available Sunday in Charlotte if we can get there.”
If not, Geno will graduate as ETSU’s career scoring leader, with 71 points. That includes 26 goals and 19 assists.
The Kingsport native was the A-Sun player of the year last season, but broke his foot this summer and missed the first three matches of the Bucs’ season. He still finished with three goals and four assists to be named to the all-conference first team.
After having a couple of days to analyze it, Calabrese says tonight’s matchup with the 17-4 Chanticleers presents a unique challenge.
“They’re an exceptional team, as their 17 wins would suggest,” said Calabrese. “They have veteran international players and are very clever and very mature. They’re clearly a team that knows how to get results.”
As for style of play, the Chanticleers have several that the Bucs (10-5-4) might have to deal with.
“They’re an interesting team because they possess the ball well, and at the same time they’re not ashamed to knock it in long and put the ball behind you when they feel pressure,” said Calabrese. “They’re better able to adjust to the demands of the game than almost any team we have faced so far. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.”
The Bucs have clamped down defensively on most teams this season. They have 10 shutouts in their 19 matches – and A-Sun single-season record -- and feature the defensive player of the year in Nate Hodges and goalkeeper of the year in Ryan Coulter.
ETSU’s title defense at the conference volleyball tournament got a lot more problematic last weekend.
By dropping to the No. 2 seed with a season-ending loss to Jacksonville, the Bucs will likely have to beat perennial power Lipscomb in the semifinals and then the top-seeded Dolphins in the championship.
Tournament action begins tonight with quarterfinals at Kennesaw State. ETSU is scheduled to play a 7:30 semifinal on Friday night.
The Bucs (22-8, 16-2) outlasted Lipscomb (21-7, 15-3) in a pair of five-set matches during the regular season. They lost in five sets in Jacksonville (27-3, 16-2), then were swept at home last Saturday.
The Bucs won the tournament last season as the 3-seed. Lipscomb had captured the previous three titles.