ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 3, 2003) - UNC Asheville's women's basketball team pulled out a 55-49 victory over East Tennessee State from the Justice Center on Wednesday, as the Bulldogs picked up their first-ever win over ETSU.
UNCA, which was winless in their last 14 attempts versus the Lady Bucs, forced 29 turnovers and was led by forward Meridith Grant who scored a game-high 13 points. The Bulldogs (3-2) never lost control of the lead in holding on to win their third straight game at home. Meanwhile, ETSU has struggled on the road and falls to 0-3 in addition to early season losses at Temple and Furman.
ETSU shot 26.1 percent in the first half and finished the game just 4-of-15 from three-point range. For the third time in as many games junior Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) led the Lady Bucs in scoring with 12 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds, marking the first double-double by an ETSU player this season. Freshman Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) contributed 11 points, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) enjoyed a decent homecoming by adding 10 rebounds and eight points, including all four of ETSU's blocked shots. In her first game back since suffering a knee injury in the preseason, Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) led the team with five assists in 21 minutes on the floor.
Asheville led by as many as 18 points in the first half following a layup by Tonisha Jackson with just under three minutes to play. Wilhoit was fouled on a last-second desperation shot, and went on to sink all three free throws as ETSU cut the Bulldog lead down to 13 going into intermission. The Lady Bucs went on a 10-point run midway through the second period and got within two after Wilhoit drained an open three at the 6:16 mark. But UNCA capitalized on its free throws late in the game, going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the second half, to eventual distance itself from visiting ETSU.
Head Coach Karen Kemp and the Lady Bucs will now head to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Provident Bank Invitational hosted by Xavier. ETSU will leadoff with a game against High Point scheduled for 3 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 6. The winner will take on the winner of Xavier/Central Michigan in the tournament championship at 3 p.m. on Sunday, while the losers of Saturday's games will go head-to-head at 1 p.m. Follow all of this weekend's post-game news and statistics by logging on to www.ETSUBucs.com.