JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2007) - Despite losing a 19-point second half lead, the Lady Bucs hung on by scoring the final 10 points of the game and defeated Jacksonville, 68-61, Saturday afternoon in front of 1,117 fans in Memorial Center. ETSU extended its winning streak to four and improve to 11-7, 7-1 A-Sun, while the Dolphins drop to 10-7, 4-3.
The Georgia connection of Kelly Turman (Atlanta) and Siarre Evans (Griffin) led ETSU this afternoon. Turman finished with a game-high 16 points (6-6 from the free throw line), and hit four clutch free throws during the final minute and twenty-five seconds to secure the victory for ETSU. Evans picked up her third straight double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for the Lady Bucs. The freshman now has six total double-doubles in her early career. Jacksonville had four players reach double figures as Virginia Gregoire and Courtney Jackson each ended with 15 points apiece.
"The fans helped us tonight and it made a big difference in the outcome as our players fed off their energy," said head coach Karen Kemp. "We came out with a lot of intensity and emotion in the first half, which is how we built our big lead. However, we knew Jacksonville was a good team and are very well coached, so I never felt comfortable when we were ahead by 19. I am very pleased of our defensive effort during the final two minutes and I am glad we walked out of here with a win."
In the first half, ETSU opened up to an early 6-0 lead with less than two minutes gone by in the game. Jacksonville's DaVina Hamilton jumper cut the lead to 10-8, but they would not get any closer for the rest of the half. Over the next five-plus minutes the Lady Bucs opened things up with a 15-2 run, and took a 25-12 lead with 7:36 on the clock. ETSU would not let the lead get below double digits for the rest of the half, and took a 36-24 lead into the break.
Evans scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half and was two rebounds shy of picking up her double-double in the first 20 minutes. The Lady Bucs out-rebounded the Dolphins 26-16, and forced them to turn the ball over 15 times, with ETSU converting those turnovers into 13 points.
The Lady Bucs looked to be in the driver's seat as they held a 19-point advantage with 13:19 remaining in the game, but Jacksonville had other plans in store for the host team. With the ETSU lead at 50-33, Evans was forced to go to the bench after picking up her fourth foul at the 12:38 mark. Jacksonville used that to its advantage as they went on a 13-4 during the next five-plus minutes, and cut the lead to 54-46 with 7:23 remaining.
The rally forced Kemp to put her freshman sensation back on the floor to try to give the offense a spark. The Lady Bucs needed something to happen on the offensive end as Jacksonville held the Lady Bucs without a field goal for almost seven minutes. Turman ended the drought by driving in for a lay-up with 3:06 remaining, putting ETSU up 58-56. The Dolphins finally gained their first lead of the game 61-58, thanks to a three-pointer from Regina Omoite with 1:42 left in the game. However, Turman nailed two free throws, cutting the Jacksonville lead to one, and on the Lady Bucs next possession senior Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville) stepped up in a big way by nailing the game-winning jumper with thirty-eight seconds left on the clock, giving ETSU the lead, 62-61. The Lady Bucs turned things up down the stretch on the defensive end by holding Jacksonville scoreless for final 1:42.
ETSU showed Jacksonville why they are the best free throw shooting team in the league by going eight-of-eight from the line in the final minute and a half, and finished 24-for-31 (77.4 percent) for the contest. Turman and Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) were a combined 11-of-11 from the charity stripe. The Lady Bucs continued to be a force on the boards as they out-rebounded their opponent for the eighth consecutive game, 45-41.
The Lady Bucs will now have a week off before they return to action against Kennesaw State on Jan. 27. Tip is set for 2 p.m. inside the KSU Convocation Center.