The East Tennessee State women’s basketball team begins a season-long five-game road swing tonight when the Lady Bucs travel to take on the Richmond Spiders inside the Robins Center.
Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The Lady Bucs suffered their fifth straight loss to start the season after falling 78-63 to Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
ETSU, which is off to its first winless start through five games since the 2003-04 season, has never lost six straight to start the year (dating back to 1968-69). The Lady Bucs haven’t lost six straight games in one season since dropping seven consecutive contests in 2001-02.
Once again it was turnovers and defensive rebounding that gave the Lady Bucs troubles against the Blue Raiders on Saturday.
MTSU scored 26 points off 27 ETSU turnovers and totaled 24 second-chance points off 20 offensive rebounds.
Freshman Cara Bowling, a former Elizabethton standout, took advantage of her 17 minutes off the bench by finishing with a team-high 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
Richmond (4-1) is coming off an 81-67 loss to Florida Gulf Coast, a team the Lady Bucs will face later this week.
Nine of the 10 players who saw action for the Spiders recorded double figures in minutes played, while senior guard Abby Oliver finished with a team-high 17 points and six rebounds.
Freshman guard Miah Register was the only other Richmond player to score in double figures after adding 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
The Spiders were picked to finish eighth out of 14 teams in a strong Atlantic 10 Conference, while Oliver was selected Second Team All-Atlantic 10 in the preseason polls.
Richmond returns 10 letter winners from last year’s 18-win squad, including three starters. The Spiders added five freshmen to the lineup, three of which adding length at 6-foot-3 or taller. In addition, Richmond boasts the youngest team in the conference and one of the youngest squads in the country as 11 of its 15 players are underclassmen.
Last season marked the first meeting between the two programs as the Lady Bucs defeated Richmond 96-84 in Johnson City. ETSU shot 52.5 percent (31-59) from the field and went 29-of-34 from the free throw line (85.3 percent).
Four of ETSU’s five starters scored in double figures in that game. They included Destiny Mitchell, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Tara Davis scored a game-high 27 points and went 14-of-14 at the free throw line, while Latisha Belcher was also perfect at the foul line, going 11-for-11 to finish with 19 points and 11 rebounds.