JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 8, 2003) - East Tennessee State's women's basketball team was ready to make its late-season surge in the Southern Conference standings, but after losing to Appalachian State 76-65 at Memorial Center Saturday afternoon, the Buccaneers took a step in the wrong direction.
ETSU (7-14, 4-8 SoCon) sparkled the home crowd to begin the game with a 17-4 run early in the first half. The momentum helped the Lady Bucs take a seven-point advantage into the locker room at halftime, 41-34. ETSU forced 13 Appalachian State turnovers in the first stanza, but the Mountaineers (7-14, 6-6 SoCon) took better care of the ball in the second half and forced some turnovers of their own.
"They came out with a lot more emotion than we did in the second half," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "We try to take it just one game at a time and this is one game we really wanted. Appalachian State played with a lot of confidence in the second half and they wanted to win more than us."
Jessica Jank's layup with 11:35 to play tied the game at 51-51, and Kiki Conyers' first of two free throws gave the Mountaineers their first lead since the opening minutes of the contest. ETSU never regained the lead due partially to missed baskets underneath and untimely turnovers.
The Lady Bucs committed 16 personal fouls in the second half sending the Apps to the free throw line 20 times. ASU converted on 17 of those attempts, including some clutch baskets down the stretch to secure the victory.
Junior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) was just one steal shy of her first career triple-double. Verdell scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded nine steals, however, she had to sit down due to foul trouble late in the second half. Verdell eventually fouled out in the waning seconds of the game.
Junior Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) tallied her sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Trantham and Verdell have both garnered double-doubles in their last two outings.
Conyers and Aisha Bryant led five players scoring in double figures for Appalachian State with 14 points each. Tiffani Johnson added 13 points, Jank contributed 12 off of the bench, and Jaymi Wilson netted 10 points to go along with her four steals.
ETSU travels to College of Charleston on Monday, Feb. 10, to take on the Cougars. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. The Lady Bucs then go to Western Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 15, before returning home to Memorial Center Monday, Feb. 17 to host UNC Greensboro beginning at 7 p.m.
Appalachian State goes back to Boone, N.C. for a 7 p.m. home game versus Davidson on Tuesday, Feb. 11.