JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 25, 2003) - Junior Kiya Verdell's (Hartwell, Ga.) running jumper in the lane with 2.8 seconds left gave East Tennessee State's women's basketball team a 66-64 victory over Davidson Saturday afternoon from Memorial Center. Verdell led the Buccaneers on both ends of the court by recording a career-high 28 points and seven blocked shots.
"Kiya made up her mind, she came to play," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp, whose team improves to 5-12 overall and 2-6 in the Southern Conference. "She led us the entire time. She hit some big shots in the first half and had confidence at the end of the game, so that's who we went with for the last shot."
The game stayed close the entire contest with 10 lead changes and six ties in the first half alone. Davidson (7-10, 2-6 SoCon) led by as many as six points in the first stanza, while the Lady Bucs held the largest advantage of the game at eight points with 10:13 left to play. Kemp gave credit to ETSU's defense and full-court press for the second-half comeback.
"Our defense really stepped up late in the game," Kemp said. "We forced some turnovers and that led to some easy buckets. We preach defense every day in practice and it paid off for us today."
The Lady Bucs, who came into the game ranked 17th in the nation in blocked shots, rejected seven Wildcat shots and came up with seven steals. ETSU relied heavily on the defensive end in order to make up for some poor shooting. The Buccaneers shot 37.5 percent from the floor and just 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from the free throw line. However, Verdell hit on 11-of-21 shots, including 5-of-9 shooting from three-point land.
Also scoring in double figures for ETSU was freshman point guard Adrienne Walker (Augusta, Ga.), who netted 10 points and dished out six assists. Junior Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and scored eight points, as did junior forward Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.).
Pacing the Wildcats was sophomore Emily Callahan with 22 points, while senior Bethany Schott tallied a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards. Schott also garnered three steals and shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.
East Tennessee State will be in action again on Monday, Jan. 27 when the team travels to Wofford for a 5 p.m. game.