Troy broke open a close game over the final three minutes, scoring the final 15 points in an 84-66 non-conference victory over the Bucs in front of a capacity crowd mostly made up of screaming schoolchildren.
“Free throws and turnovers have been our Achilles heel all year,” ETSU coach Brittney Ezell said. “What I told the kids is those aren’t schematic, those aren’t scouting reports. You go to the line, have some confidence and help your team. That’s you being tough enough to take care of the ball.
“If there’s schematic things, if there’s scouting report errors, if there’s mistakes, I’ll own them. But I can’t shoot a free throw. I can’t take care of the ball.”
Even with the mistakes, ETSU (0-4) was right in the game in the final three minutes. When Raven Dean scored for the Bucs with 2:51 left, Troy was ahead 69-66. Little did the Bucs know, they wouldn’t score again.
Kayla Robinson then scored seven points in 27 seconds for Troy, which improved to 4-1. First, she swished a 3-pointer from the corner, was fouled and converted the 4-point play. Then, after yet another ETSU turnover, she connected again from 3-point range.
Robinson finished with 24 points to lead all scorers. Tyra Johnson added 20, making 6 of 8 from 3-point range.
ETSU was led by Erica Haynes-Overton, who scored 23 points. She was 9 of 20 from the field and went 1 for 6 on 3-pointers. Dean finished with 12 points.
The Bucs made 17-of-30 free throws and missed several while they were trying to claw their way back into the game. They also went 1-for-12 on 3-pointers.
“Our kids haven’t quite grasped that everything has a consequence,” Ezell said. “They’re figuring it out, but unfortunately our schedule doesn’t give us the games to figure it out.”
Up next for the Bucs is a Thanksgiving Day meeting with South Carolina in the Vancouver Showcase in British Columbia. They will play three games in three days.