Sunday, February 22, 2004Elon, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2004) -- East Tennessee State (13-11, 13-5 SoCon) defeated UNC Greensboro, 65-60 on Saturday, and will attempt to continue its recent success on the road Monday night at Elon (15-10, 11-7 SoCon). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.
If the Lady Bucs win one of their two remaining regular-season games, then they will clinch at least a No. 3 seed at the upcoming Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championships March 3-6. With Saturday's win at UNCG, ETSU inched ever closer to securing a top-three finish in the SoCon standings and garnered its 13th conference victory of the season, a new school record.
Furthermore, the Lady Bucs have now won a school-record five straight road games after beginning the season 0-6 away from Johnson City. Head coach Karen Kemp has also guided her team to a 5-1 record in the month of February and will attempt to extend her season-best winning streak to five games Monday night.
SoCon Player of the Year hopeful Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) has netted 20-plus points in five of her last six outings. Mayes is second in the SoCon in scoring (15.7 ppg.) and continues to lead the league in rebounds per game (9.4). She tied a career high with 24 points against UNCG, in helping ETSU to its eighth come-from-behind victory of the season when trailing at halftime.
Despite losing Holly Andrews earlier this month to a career-ending knee injury, Elon has still managed to find ways to win. Andrews, who was averaging 18.9 ppg. this season prior to her injury and is one of the school's most prolific female athletes, reinjured her knee during an attempted comeback on Feb. 7 after suffering an ACL tear back on Jan. 17. She officially announced her career at Elon was over on Feb. 11. But the Phoenix have continued to impress even without their star guard. The team won six of its last eight contests prior to Saturday's 58-42 setback to Chattanooga. Elon is 8-3 on its home court going into Monday's game and is 28-5 at Alumni Gym over the last four seasons.
Center Courtney Nyborg averages 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.7 blocks per game. Elon is one of the best shooting teams in the SoCon, connecting on 42.4% of its field goals and 33.3% from three-point range. Brianne Gray is the conference's top marksman (57.2%), followedy by Nyborg (56.9%). Jessica Williams is one of the SoCon's best three-point shooters -- Williams shoots 36.5% from beyond the arc. She has made a league-best 58 threes this season and is second on the team among active players in scoring (9.2 ppg.). In addition, Elon will be playing with extra inspiration on Monday, as the Phoenix will be celebrating their annual "Senior Night."
With two games to left before the tournament, ETSU is in the driver's seat with just five conference losses. The Lady Bucs are tied with Furman for second place in the SoCon standings, but the Paladins hold the tie-breaker over the ETSU after sweeping the season series. Elon and Davidson each have seven conference losses and each have to travel to Furman next week. If the Lady Bucs can win out and Furman loses to Elon and/or Davidson, then ETSU would become the No. 2 seed at the SoCon tourney. ETSU was picked to finish 10th in the SoCon Preaseason Poll, voted on by the league's coaches.
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