Belcher nets 17, but Lady Bucs fall in Murfreesboro, 87-71

Saturday, November 27, 2010

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Nov. 26, 2010) - Middle Tennessee State made 12 three-pointers and scored 40 points off 30 ETSU turnovers, as the Blue Raiders handed the Lady Bucs their third straight defeat, 87-71, Friday night inside the Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center.


ETSU was paced by red-shirt senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) as she scored a team-high 17 points, while Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) and Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) each added 12.


With the loss, the Lady Bucs drop to 2-3, while MTSU earns its third win in four tries this season.


The Lady Bucs scored the first five points of the game as Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) nailed a deep three from the corner and Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) laid one in with only two minutes, twenty-seven seconds coming off the clock.


From there, ETSU extended its lead to six, 10-4, but MTSU got hot from beyond arc as the Blue Raiders nailed three threes over the next two-plus minutes and grabbed their first lead of the night, 15-12, after Kortni Jones swished a trey - forcing ETSU to call a 30-second timeout (12:10). MTSU eventually saw its lead grow to seven, 19-12, but Belcher stopped a 3-minute, 55-second Lady Buccaneer scoring drought after connecting on a lay-up at the 9:38 mark. After Belcher missed the chance for an and-one, Mitchell retrieved the rebound and completed hers - lowering the ETSU deficit to two, 19-17, with 9:35 remaining in the half. Unfortunately, that's as close as the Lady Bucs would get as the Blue Raiders rattled off 15 unanswered points following the Mitchell three-point-play, and MTSU took a 14-point lead into the break, 47-33.


Turnovers and rebounding were the Lady Bucs' Achilles' heel in the opening 20 minutes as ETSU turned the ball over 15 times and allowed MTSU to snag 13 offensive rebounds. In return, the Blue Raiders scored 20 points off those miscues and turned the rebounds into 13 second-chance points.


ETSU was never able to turn things around as MTSU scored 10 of the first 14 points in the second half and the Blue Raiders pushed their lead up to 20, 57-37, forcing the Lady Bucs to call another 30-second timeout at the 16:30 mark.


Despite falling behind by 24, 68-44, the Lady Bucs continued to chip away as ETSU narrowed the gap to 15 (72-57) after Belcher drained a pair of free throws; however, the Lady Bucs couldn't inch any closer as the Blue Raiders walked away with the 16-point non-conference victory.  


For the game, ETSU shot 41.3 percent (19-46), while MTSU finished at 43.5 percent from the field (30-69). The Blue Raiders made 12 of their 23 three-point attempts and also out-rebounded the Lady Bucs, 38 to 33. Meanwhile, ETSU did convert at the charity stripe as they finished 30-of-34 (88.2 percent).


Jones led MTSU with 19 points, while Ebony Rowe added a double-double - finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds.


The Lady Bucs will now have a week to prepare for their Atlantic Sun Conference opener as ETSU travels to Spartanburg, S.C., to face USC Upstate on Saturday, Dec. 4. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m. inside the Hodge Center.


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