COOKEVILLE, TENN. (Nov. 19, 2004) - Behind a 25 point effort from guard B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) including a 14-15 showing from the free throw line, the Lady Bucs basketball team (1-0) defeated the Tennessee Tech Eagles (1-0) tonight 81-77 in the opening game of the 2004-2005 season. Senior forward Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) added 22 points and five rebounds for the Bucs in 38 minutes of play.
The Bucs and Eagles battled point for point until mid-way through the first half when ETSU's Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) dropped an unassisted lay-up to give the Bucs the 22-18 lead. ETSU managed to keep the lead throughout the remainder of the first half taking the 42-29 lead into the half-time intermission. Banjo had a team-high 15 points in the first half while Mayes posted 10 points and Candace Gibson (Warner Robbins, Ga.) went a perfect 3-3 from the floor with six points in the half.
Both teams shot well during the first half, ETSU managed to shoot 56.3 percent overall including 40.0 percent from beyond the arc, while the Eagles went 7-15 from three point range in the half. TTU shot 46.7 percent from three-point range and 53.8 percent overall in the half. The Lady Bucs out-rebounded TTU in the first half 16-12 while TTU had 10 turnovers compared to the eight of ETSU.
The second half started with ETSU extending it's lead 56-51 before two three-pointers from TTU's Kendall Cavin gave the Eagles the slight 57-56 advantage. After a Lady Bucs timeout the two teams went point for point until the Lady Bucs took the 66-62 advantage at the 4:37 mark in the second half. After two Gibson blocks, and a continued effort from the free throw line from Banjo, the Lady Bucs took the 72-66 lead that TTU would never overcome as ETSU captured the 81-77 win.
"I am extremely pleased with the effort of the team in tonight's victory," Lady Bucs head coach Karen Kemp said. "It is always very tough opening the season on the road and everyone played very hard pulling together in the end for the win."
Gibson lead the Bucs with three blocks adding 10 points in the win, while Banjo posted a team-high 25 points and six rebounds for the night. All five Lady Bucs starters posted double figures in the balanced effort from the floor with Holly Moring (Irmo, S.C.) finishing with 10 points and two steals on the night, while Wilhoit posted 10 points and five assists for ETSU.
The Lady Bucs will continue opening weekend action tomorrow night when they face Tennessee State in Nashville, game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. (cst.). The game can be heard on the Buccaneer Sports Network with pre-game analysis starting at 6:00 p.m. (cst.) from Don Helman and continuing throughout the game. Visit ETSUBucs.com for details.