JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (December 1, 2005) - The Lady Bucs basketball team picked up a victory in their first-ever Atlantic Sun contest Thursday evening, downing Belmont, 66-52, in Memorial Center. B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) was ETSU's top scorer once again, posting 23 points.
Leading 30-18 at the break, ETSU saw its lead quickly slip away as Belmont cut the lead to five within the first three minutes of the half, thanks two-point buckets by Bruins Jessica Bobbitt, and Alysha Clark, and a three-pointer by Laura Cowley.
ETSU responded, extending the lead to 15 within the next three minutes. Banjo tallied five points in the run, while sophomore Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) netted two-pointers in back-to-back possessions. The Lady Bucs would lead by as many as 21, reaching the margin with just over 10 minutes to go on a three from Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio).
Belmont fought back to get within nine with just under two minutes to go, but the Lady Bucs took the lead back to 14 behind five points from Banjo. A layup from Bruin LaWanna Holiday brought the deficit back to 12, but Banjo answered again, sinking a pair of free throws with 27 seconds to go, and put the icing on the 14-point victory.
Bobbitt led the Bruins with 13 points, followed by Clark with 11, over 13 points below her season average. The Lady Bucs held Clark, who has won the season's first two A-Sun Player of the Week awards, to just four points in the first period. Clark had two fouls in the opening moments of the game, putting the rookie on the bench with just under 19:00 to go. But her limited minutes didn't stop Clark from crashing the boards, as the freshman corralled a game-high 13 on the night, including eight in the first half.
The Lady Bucs shot out to a 13-point lead to start the game, scoring 15 straight points. ETSU drained shots on five-possessions, including a trio of threes by DeVault, Banjo, and Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.). DeVault and Banjo were hot from behind the arc all night, both posting a 4-for-7 performance from three-point range.
ETSU gained a 16-point advantage on a layout by Wilhoit with 2:20 left in the opening period, but a Holiday layout and a pair of free throws by Clark cut the lead to a dozen going into the locker room.
Three ETSU players scored double digits on the evening with Banjo scoring 23, Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.) with 13, and DeVault adding 12. Gibson and Banjo shared the team lead in rebounds, with eight apiece, while Wilhoit posted a game-best seven assists.
The Lady Bucs continue their first A-Sun weekend on Saturday, with Lipscomb on Saturday, Dec. 3, in Memorial Center. Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m.