Women fly past Ospreys, 72-57
Competing undermanned for the second-straight game, the ETSU women's basketball team outmatched the North Florida Ospreys behind a dominant second half as the Bucs soared past the Ospreys, 72-57, on Saturday evening inside UNF Arena.
With the win, ETSU improves to 7-13 overall and 3-6 in the Atlantic Sun, while North Florida drops to 5-15 on the season and 1-8 in league play.
To start the contest, North Florida surged ahead to take a nine-point lead, 13-4, with 14:54 to go in the first half.
Misses from the field and foul trouble quickly began to accumulate for the shorthanded Bucs.
Trailing by nine with 14 minutes left to play in the first period, the Blue and Gold manufactured a 9-2 burst over the next three minutes to pull within two, 17-15.
The Ospreys then responded with a 13-4 streak to gain their largest lead of the half, 11 points, with 6:10 left in the half.
Faced with a sizable deficit, the Bucs didn't back down and were spurred by two, big three-pointers from freshman Jasmine Hotchkins to pull closer to UNF.
In the final six minutes of the period, the Blue and Gold went on a 13-6 run to go into the half trailing, 36-32.
As has become the norm this season, the Bucs came out of halftime energized, and quickly flipped the momentum of the game.
ETSU scored the first eight points of the second half to take its first lead of the game, 38-36, with 17:54 left to play.
With North Florida reeling, ETSU did not take its foot off of the gas and continued to increase its lead.
A Brianna McQueen triple with 12:09 to go pushed the Bucs' advantage to 12; capping off an 18-2 run to begin the period.
The Blue and Gold was able to continue to distance itself from UNF; peaked by a pair of free throws to increase its advantage to a game-high 17 points with 2:03 to go.
Ultimately, undermanned ETSU's second-half flurry propelled the Bucs to its largest margin of victory in conference play this season, 72-57.
Serena Clark notched her second-consecutive double, and eighth of the season, with 20 points and eleven rebounds.
Forced into increased minutes due to ETSU's current lack of depth, freshman Hotchkins played a career-high 28 minutes, which featured a career-best 12 points including a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc.
McQueen and Maria Bond also reached double-figures with both scoring 13 points.
North Florida had two double-digit scorers with Destinee Smith leading the Ospreys with 16 points, while Bailey Florin added 12.
Play in the paint was the story of the game for ETSU where it registered 28 points and facilitated numerous other baskets.
In total, the Blue and Gold shot 42 percent from the floor and 41 percent from downtown.
ETSU also drained 19-of-29 (66 percent) of its free throws and turned 15 UNF turnovers into 16 points.
From their limited bench, the Bucs got 21 big points and grabbed 34 total rebounds.
The Ospreys shot 35 percent from the field for the game including a poor 20 percent in the second half.
North Florida struggled from behind the arc with only 3-of-15 (20 percent) makes, but did sink 18-of-26 (69 percent) from the free-throw line. UNF also outrebounded ETSU, 39-34, and got out on the fast break for six points.
The Bucs will continue league play back in Johnson City when they welcome the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles to the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.
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