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Cleveland State pulls away from ETSU women

Joe Avento • Dec 8, 2019 at 8:25 PM

JOHNSON CITY — When E’Lease Stafford beat the third-quarter buzzer to tie the game, East Tennessee State looked ready to get another home win.

Instead, the Bucs went cold and Cleveland State pulled away for a 62-54 victory in a non-conference women’s basketball game Sunday at Brooks Gym.

“We’re a work in progress,” ETSU coach Brittney Ezell said. “Our problem all along has been consistency. I told them that the only thing consistent about us is our inconsistency.”

The Bucs, who surprised Wake Forest in their last outing, fell to 3-7. Cleveland State is 8-1.

“Give them a lot of credit,” Ezell said. “Don’t take anything away from them, but I’m just disappointed that this is the game that came on the heels of such a big win against Wake Forest.”

Micah Sheetz led ETSU with 18 points, but the Bucs’ other four starters combined for four field goals. Sheetz was 4 of 7 from 3-point range. She was the only ETSU player to make a 3-pointer.

Stafford’s midrange jumper came as the horn sounded at the end of the third quarter to tie the game at 43 and set up the decisive final period.

Cleveland State’s Jamiyah Braxton swished a 3-pointer to start the fourth, then the Vikings scored the next eight points and they never trailed again.

ETSU missed eight shots in a row and went scoreless for 4:37 to start the fourth quarter before Shynia Jackson’s free throw. The Bucs didn’t make a field goal for almost seven minutes until Sheetz connected with 3:09 left to cut Cleveland State’s lead to 54-49.

Sheetz then made a 3-pointer from the left corner, slicing the deficit to 56-52 with 1:58 left, but ETSU could not get any closer.

“We did a terrible job with offensive efficiency and that’s my fault,” Ezell said. “We’ve got to do a better job in our zone offense. Anybody who scouts that game is probably going to play us zone.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Cleveland State’s Mariah Miller led all scorers with 22 points. Mariah White added 16.

Tijuana Kimbro added 10 points for ETSU, which out-rebounded Cleveland State 46-39. Stafford and Sheetz each had seven rebounds.

Bucs point guard Kaia Upton was 1 for 8 from the field but had six assists.

UP NEXT

ETSU hits the road for two games next week, Wednesday night at Troy and Sunday at Georgia Tech.

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