JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 4, 2004) - East Tennessee State (9-11) was able to rebound from a poor first-half shooting effort Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to get past Tennessee Tech (10-9) in non-conference women's basketball action from Memorial Center. The Golden Eaglettes dodged foul trouble early in the second half and survived 19 turnovers overall to edge ETSU, 73-71.
The Lady Bucs began the game by missing 19 of their first 22 field goal attempts. They trailed 37-25 at halftime after shooting just 29.4 percent in the first stanza. Meanwhile, Tech shot an even 50.0 percent for the game, but got into foul trouble early in the second half of play. Fortunately for the Golden Eaglettes, ETSU shot a dismal 12-of-26 (46.2%) from the free throw line, which proved to be the difference in the game.
"I'm proud of the way we came out in the second half," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "But we have to hit our free throws. We came out extremely flat in the first half, but we were in a position to win at the end."
Kemp and the Lady Bucs trailed by as many as 16 points midway through the first frame. However, the squad was able to cut the Tech lead to 44-41 with 12:50 remaining thanks to a 14-3 run. ETSU eventual took over the lead at 7:57 mark on a 3-point basket by senior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.), who finished with 14 points and three steals. There were five different lead changes and four ties in the closing minutes before the Golden Eaglettes sealed the victory on Courtney McFarlin's put-back with 14 seconds remaining. The Lady Bucs were able to get two shots off in their last possession, but neither would fall as the team dropped their third straight game at home.
"I give ETSU a lot of credit the way they came back in the second half," said Tennessee Tech head coach Bill Worrell. "I feel fortunate to come in here tonight and get a win. We got into foul trouble at the post and had a some trouble defending [Tiffani] Mayes (Sumter, S.C.)."
Mayes led all scorers with 22 points in addition to nine rebounds. B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) scored 17 points on 7-of13 shooting from the floor. McFarlin led the Golden Eaglettes with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The team's leading scorer, Emily Christian, was held below her season scoring average of 21.2 points per game, but still managed to drop in 16 points. Guard Kendall Cavin flirted with a triple-double - she scored 13 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out eight assists - and Casey Bradford added 10 points to the winning cause.
East Tennessee State will remain at home to face Davidson this Saturday, Feb. 7. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Memorial Center, followed by the men's basketball game between ETSU and Appalachian State, which is scheduled to start promptly at 4 p.m. For tickets to Saturday's doubleheader, please call the Buccaneer ticket office at 423-439-5371.