JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2007) - The Lady Bucs bounced back into the win column on Saturday afternoon by defeating North Florida, 61-58, inside UNF Arena. ETSU has now won all four games in the series and improves to 15-10, 11-4 in the A-Sun, while the Ospreys dropped their fifth straight and are 6-19, 5-9 on the season.
ETSU was led by junior Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) who finished with12 points, while UNF had two reach double figures as Cecilia Woolfolk ended with a game-high 17 points. The Lady Bucs win marked their first victory after trailing at halftime since Feb. 23, 2006 when they trailed Mercer at half (21-20) and came away with a 62-47 win. ETSU trailed 25-24 at the break on Saturday.
After Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) started the game with a three-pointer on the Lady Bucs opening possession, North Florida posted an 11-4 run to take the lead with 16:11 on the clock. ETSU would respond with 10 unanswered points to take a 17-11 lead thanks to a three from freshman Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.). Neither team could find the basket for almost four minutes, until Latisha Belcher's (Ridgeway, Va.) fast break lay-up at the 6:19 mark ended the scoring drought for both teams, putting the Lady Bucs up 19-14. The Ospreys used another 11-4 run to take a 25-24 advantage into the break as they held the Lady Bucs to only one field goal for the final six minutes and nineteen seconds of the half.
Both teams could not gain any rhythm in the first half as they treated the basketball like a hot potato, combining for 32 turnovers. The teams both finished 39.1 percent from the field (9-23), while the ETSU bench outscored UNF 12-0. Wilhoit and Devin Thompson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led the Lady Bucs with five, and the Ospreys Denisia Andrews led all scorers at the half with seven.
The Lady Bucs came out of the locker room with an 8-2 run, and regained the lead, 32-27, with 14:54 remaining. Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) extended ETSU's lead to eight, 40-32, when she connected on both free throws. Tough defense by the Lady Bucs held the Ospreys to only two field goals with 13:55 gone by in the second frame. The drought cost the home team as Norman's three-point-play put the Lady Bucs up double digits for the first time in the game, 48-37. The Ospreys would fight back as they posted a 5-0 run, cutting the ETSU lead to 48-42, but a Kelly Turman (Atlanta) free throw and a Belcher steal hurt UNF as she found Thompson under the basket for the easy lay in, giving ETSU a 51-42 advantage with 3:56 remaining. Belcher's fourth steal set a new career high for the freshman.
The game got tight after the lay in as the Lady Buc lead dwindled to three when Woolfork's lay-up cut the ETSU advantage to 57-54 with forty-one seconds left in the contest. Turman was fouled with twenty-four ticks on the clock and drained the pair, pushing the Lady Bucs up five. After an UNF lay-up and two Evans free throws, Woolfork hit a jumper with 1.8 seconds left and was fouled on the play. The Ospreys rebounded their missed free throw opportunity, and Jennifer Bowen got a final look; however, her feet were clearly on the three-point line so the shot would not have mattered.
For the game, the teams combined for 49 turnovers, but both teams only scored 13 points apiece off the errors. The ETSU bench stepped up in a big way this afternoon as they outscored UNF, 23-4, thanks to solid efforts by Thompson (nine points) and Turman (seven points). Free throws ended up being the difference in the ball game as the Lady Bucs ended 20-of-29 from the stripe, compared to 16-of-22 from UNF.
The Lady Bucs will close out their final three regular season games inside Memorial Center starting on Friday night. ETSU will host Kennesaw State at 7:30 p.m. and they game will be broadcasted live on CSS as part of the A-Sun Game of the Week. ETSU leads the all-time series, 3-0, after defeating the Lady Owls 95-88 on Jan. 27. The 95 points scored is the highest scoring performance this season in the A-Sun and the most points scored in an A-Sun game since 2004.