Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Wiles, Washington also receive postseason honors
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 3, 2009) - With the 2009 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Basketball Championships set to kick off tomorrow evening inside Lipscomb's Allen Arena, the league office released its postseason all-conference selections and the Lady Bucs had a lot to be smiling about on Tuesday afternoon.
After receiving 2007 Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Conference accolades in each of her first three seasons, junior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) has yet another conference award to add to her resume, as she tabbed 2009 Player of the Year.
Like Evans, fellow junior Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) added a special honor to mantle as well. A year after being named 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP, Belcher was named 2009 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year and Second Team All-Conference.
In addition to Evans and Belcher, junior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) was selected First Team All-Conference, while Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) was named to the All-Freshman Team.
Evans led the conference and her team in both scoring (16.7) and rebounding (10.3), and was the only student-athlete in the A-Sun to average a double-double this season. The 5-11 guard/forward also posted a league-best 16 double-doubles on the year and won a pair of A-Sun Player of the Week honors - moving her career total to four. Evans scored in double figures 25 times this season and mounted 19 games with double figures in rebounds. In addition to leading the league in scoring and rebounding, Evans was tied for fourth in steals (2.2), ranked sixth in free throw shooting (75.0), eighth in 3-point field goals made (1.5), 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (32.8) and 15th in field goal percentage (43.6). Meanwhile, Evans also became the 16th player in Lady Buccaneer history to reach the 1000-point club and she now ranks seventh all-time on the ETSU scoring list with 1,283 career points. The Griffin, Ga. native now only needs to add Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors to make it a clean sweep of conference postseason awards.
While Evans was busy scoring, Belcher was causing havoc on defense, as the Martinsville, Va. native enters the conference tournament only five steals shy of breaking the Lady Buccaneer single-season steals record (Nicole Hopson, 90). Belcher led the conference in steals both in overall and conference games, and ranks 11th in the country with 3.1 thefts per game. The junior post player also notched six games with 5-plus steals; however, she also got things done in the scoring and rebounding departments as well. Belcher was one of three ETSU players to average double figures in scoring (12.5) and ranked second on the team in rebounding (7.7). In the conference, Belcher ranked 10th in scoring, fourth in rebounding and seventh in field goal percentage (47.6).
With Evans being selected Player of the Year, she became just the fifth Lady Buccaneer player to receive the accolade and the first since Tiffani Mayes won the 2005 SoCon honor. Belcher is only the second player to receive Defensive Player of the Year honors, with Nichelle Akers being the other ETSU player to earn the award.
Wiles joined Evans on the First Team All-Conference list, and it marked her second postseason award received since being at ETSU (2008 All-Tournament Team). Since joining the Lady Bucs in 2006-07, Wiles has greatly increased her production each and every year. This season, as a junior, Wiles averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 34.1 minutes of play. Like Evans and Belcher, Wiles has also started in all 28 games this season and ranks second in the conference in scoring and 15th in rebounding. Likewise, Wiles and Evans are only one of four tandems in the country to lead their respective leagues in scoring. The Danville, Va. native poses a threat every time she takes the court, as her versatile skills are nearly unstoppable. Wiles posted seven games with 20+ scoring efforts - including a career-high 31-point performance against Belmont and 30-point effort versus Campbell.
Despite only being a rookie, Washington has all ready made an immediate impact for the Lady Bucs, as she has played in all 28 games (22 starts). It didn't take long for the freshman post player to showcase her talents, as she scored a career-high 21 points in her Lady Buccaneer debut against Evansville back in November. Washington was the fourth leading scorer amongst freshman in the A-Sun (8.2ppg) and ranked 17th overall in the league in rebounding (5.5). Since Washington took over the starting spot in the Lady Buccaneer lineup on Dec. 12, ETSU has posted a 17-5 mark.
Florida Gulf Coast took home the other two top honors, as head coach Karl Smesko was named Coach of the Year and Kelsey Jacobson received Freshman of the Year honors. Rounding out the First Team All-Conference selections were Adrianne McNally and Chelsea Lyles from FGCU and Belmont's Jessica Bobbitt.
ETSU now takes its number one seed into the A-Sun Tournament and the Lady Bucs await the winner of Thursday's Mercer/Stetson match-up. The Lady Bucs tip off at noon (1 p.m. eastern) on Friday against either the Bears or Hatters.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.