CHARLESTON, S.C. (Mar. 4, 2004) - Lisa Miller recorded a double-double with 16 points and 13 assists to lead Elon to an 84-68 win over East Tennessee State in the quarterfinals of the 2004 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championships at McAlister Field House on the The Citadel campus. Elon improves to 17-11 while ETSU drops to 13-14.
"Elon played like they were going to win," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "They did a good job of getting the ball into the hands of the people that they needed to be in to win."
Elon's win is only the third time that a fifth seed has won in the women's basketball championships. It is also the first time since 1998 that a first-year squad has reached the semifinals. Ironically, the last team to do so was UNC Greensboro, Elon's local rival. Miller's career-high 13 assists was just two-shy of tying the tournament and Elon school record for assists in a game.
ETSU led for most of the first half with the largest lead at 11-5 at the 14:54 mark. However, the two teams battled with nine lead changes before Brittany Winner hit a trey at the buzzer for the Bucs to take a 38-33 lead into the locker room at the half. Tiffany Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) led the scoring in the first half, hitting five-of-seven from the floor and tallying 19 points.
"I was very pleased with how we came out and the aggressive play in the first half," said Kemp. "We changed our strategy and that worked for us in the first half."
Both teams came out of the break firing baskets as the lead changed five times before Jones hit a trey for the Phoenix to give Elon the lead for good.
Rasalynn Jones led Elon with a career-high 19 points with Courtney Nyborg adding 11 points, hitting five-of-seven from the floor. The Phoenix also shot 47 percent from the floor. The Phoenix are 10-0 when scoring 70 or more points.
" ETSU is a very similar team to us," commented Elon's head coach Brenda Paul. "We both like to battle in the second half. We just had a little more gas at the end."
ETSU was led by Mayes, who recorded a game-high 25 points, and was 13-of-20 from the free-throw line.
Coach Kemp said of Mayes, "She has done a tremendous job for us today and throughout the season. In the first half we did a good job of getting the ball to her, but in the second we needed to run more plays to get the ball to her and others in the inside and we didn't do that.
Senior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) added 17 points for the Bucs to go with three steals.
"Kiya was extremely focused and didn't want to lose. She hit some big shots in the beginning and did what a senior should do," stated Kemp.
With the win, the Phoenix awaits the winner of the Chattanooga/Georgia Southern matchup. The two winners will play at Noon on Friday, March 5 at the North Charleston Coliseum. The game will be live on Comcast Sports Southeast.