Now 0-2 all-time against A-Sun newcomer Northern Kentucky
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 4, 2013) – After leading the game for 39 minutes, the Lady Bucs let the Norse hang around and ultimately paid the price when NKU hit a jumper with three seconds remaining to take a one point lead. A last second, close look at the basket for ETSU caromed off the iron and Northern Kentucky held on to edge ETSU, 77-76, on Monday evening inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center.
With the loss, ETSU snaps its two-game winning streak and drops to 6-12 overall and 4-7 in Atlantic Sun play, while Northern Kentucky improves to 9-11 overall and 6-5 in league action.
“I guess the phrase I can use is a heartbreaker,” head coach Karen Kemp said. “I want it every night for this team, but to be without Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) and Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.), two of our starters, this group really, really wanted to do it for them. The game didn’t come down to the last minute. If we had made free throws and some of those lay-ups it would not have come down to a turnover in the last 30 seconds.”
Early on in the first half, the Northern Kentucky Norse had no answer for sophomore forward Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.). Burley scored 16 points in the opening nine minutes of the contest and was outscoring NKU by herself until midway through the period. ETSU used Burley’s production as a catalyst to a 17-7 Lady Bucs run from the 14:31 to the 8:36 marks and built up an advantage as large as 14 points. Eleven first half ETSU fouls allowed NKU to get to the free throw line and decrease its deficit to as few as seven points. The Lady Bucs responded and pushed the lead back up to double-digits, taking a 42-32 advantage into the break.
Turnovers and stagnant offense proved costly early in the second half as ETSU allowed NKU to stick around and even cut its deficit to as little as six points with 13:08 remaining. After the Lady Bucs answered with buckets of their own, the Norse fired back and continued to whittle down the ETSU lead. Things began to get interesting with under five minutes to play when NKU cut the Blue and Gold lead down to three points. Misses from inside the paint and from the free throw line reared its ugly head for ETSU as NKU continued to inch closer. Momentum shifted with a Norse three-pointer from Jaimie Hamlet to cut the Lady Bucs advantage to one with three minutes remaining. With one minute remaining, it looked like ETSU was going to hang on and survive with a bucket in the lane from Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) to put ETSU up five. NKU did not quit though and went on a 4-0 run in the final minute, followed by making a jumper with three seconds remaining to take a 77-76 lead. Serena Clark (Tucker, Ga.) got a good look from the base line as time was expiring but the shot was errant and NKU held on to defeat the Lady Bucs, 77-76.
NKU got a game-high 21 points from forward Tiara Hopper, as well as 15 points from forward Melody Doss and 13 from guard Jaimie Hamlet. Meanwhile, ETSU got team-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore forward Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.), with 16 of those 20 points coming before the midway point of the first half. Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) had another strong offensive performance with 15 points, as well as nine rebounds, while Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) added 13 points.
The NKU Norse shot 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range, as well as 64 percent from the free throw line. The Norse capitalized on ETSU’s 20 turnovers with 18 points off these miscues and had their bench score 26 points, compared to 22 for the Lady Bucs.
ETSU led the game in many categories, except the most important one; the final score. The Lady Bucs shot a solid 45 percent from the field, but struggled from behind the arc, making only 36 percent of their attempts, and knocked down only 68 percent of their tries from the charity stripe. The Blue and Gold again played strong in the paint, gaining 36 points compared to 26 for NKU. They also once again outrebounded their opponent, 49-30, and scored 15 second chance points off of 18 offensive rebounds. ETSU also held a slight lead, 6-2, in fast break points.
The Lady Bucs will hit the road for Atlantic Sun action when they travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Stetson Hatters on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. inside the Edmunds Center.
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