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WBB Fades in Second Half, Loses to ETSU 87-77

Strong performances by Shanice Johnson and Imar’i Thomas

Cincinnati v South Florida

The Cincinnati Bearcats women’s basketball team took a 44-40 lead into halftime against the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers. Unfortunately, a slow start to the second half prevented UC from leaving Johnson City’s Brooks Gymnasium with a win.

The ETSU Buccaneers outscored Cincinnati 24-12 in the third quarter and cruised to an 87-77 win in both clubs’ regular season debut.

UC Coach Jamelle Elliott played a deep bench in Johnson City, featuring 11 different Bearcats. Frequently, this strategy served to wear down opponents during the 2016-2017 season, but it failed to do this evening. ETSU played a similarly deep bench and received significant contributions from both starters and non-starters. Cincinnati’s bench outscored ETSU’s 29-28, a margin much smaller than the totals UC racked up on numerous occasions last season.

Cincinnati’s frontcourt, including veteran standout Shanice Johnson (19 points, 8 rebounds) and impressive first-year player Imar’i Thomas (19 points, 8 rebounds), looked strong throughout the evening. The Bearcats shot the ball well from inside perimeter too, posting a mark of just better 50 percent. Conversely, UC struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 4 of 17 three-pointers. Cincinnati went 1 of 10 on their second-half attempts from outside, many of which were hastily thrown up once the team fell behind.

Defensively, the Bearcats had no answer for the Buccaneers’ balanced attack, which was led by point guard Tianna Tarter, who dished out 11 assists. Five different players reached double figures for ETSU, including Tarter (16 points), fellow guard Raven Dean (19 points), and forward Shy Copney (17 points), who hit five three-pointers.

Cincinnati returns to action at home on Monday evening at 7 PM against Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock University. As always, the game will be broadcast on GoBearcats.com.