(Dec. 30, 2004) - The East Tennessee State Lady Bucs (4-7, 2-2) fell 64-74 to the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State (9-2, 0-0 SEC) tonight in non-conference action from Memorial Center. Missing leading scorer Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) to injury, the Bucs entered tonight's match-up with the Lady Bulldogs riding a two-game conference losing streak. True freshman Michelle DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) posted a career-night shooting 50 percent from the floor (7-14) including a 4-8 tally from beyond the arc to finish with 20 points in the loss. Pacing the Lady Bulldogs was senior guard Tan White with 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven steals in the win.
The Bucs started the first half very strong posting an early 10-5 run behind a lay-up and two three point baskets from junior guard B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.). The Bulldogs offense quickly regrouped to tie the game at 10 behind a three-point effort from Ebonie Ferguson. Banjo continued to stay hot on the offensive end of the court for the Bucs throughout the first half as she managed 10 points, three assists and one steal heading into the halftime intermission where the Bulldogs held the 40-30 upper hand.
In the first 20 minutes of play, both teams managed to shoot near 48 percent for the half, while ETSU tallied 13 turnovers compared to the 11 of the Bulldogs. The visitors held the upper hand with 19 rebounds, including nine offensive rebounds compared to the 12 overall, and just three offensive rebounds for the Bucs. White led all scorers with 19 in the first half, while DeVault and junior forward Candace Gibson (Warner Robbins, Ga.) tallied eight and six points respectively in the first.
The Bulldogs managed to control the majority of the second half of play, however the ETSU offense continued to benefit from a solid outside shooting effort from DeVault, Banjo and Holly Moring (Irmo, S.C.) who accounted for seven three-point baskets for the game. At the 5:22 mark, the Bucs rallied behind a Gibson jumper and DeVault three to near the score at 56-63 forcing the Bulldogs into a timeout situation. With both teams hitting their marks from the floor, the Bucs continued to battle, however the Bulldog offense proved to strong as they captured the 74-64 win behind a final lay-up from guard Tiania Burns to solidify the victory.
Overall, ETSU shot 47 percent from the floor, a much needed boost in the Bucs offense as they posted 26 baskets including a 7-18 effort from beyond the arc. Mississippi State finished shooting 47 percent, 7-16 from three-point range, with 30 overall baskets for the game. Leading the way for the Bucs was DeVault and Banjo, who each posted 20 points in the loss, Gibson finished with 12 points, three rebounds and one block on the night, marking the eighth time this season she has posted at least one block in a game. Freshman Angela Estes also posted a career night, her six rebounds and five points were both career-highs.
The Bucs return to action Jan. 2 when they host SoCon leader Chattanooga in a 2:00 p.m. contest from Memorial Center. Pre-game and play-by-play analysis from Don Helman on the Buccaneer Sports Network will be broadcast live on ETSUBucs.com.