NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 20, 2008) - The ETSU women's basketball team is quite familiar with Belmont as both programs met three times a year ago; including in the Atlantic Sun Championship game. However, it was the Bruins that took the title back to Nashville and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
On Monday, the Lady Buccaneers will look to hand Belmont their second conference loss of the season and move into a tie for second-place in the league standings. Tip is set for 1 p.m. EST inside the Curb Event Center.
ETSU has not defeated Belmont since knocking them off in the Lady Buccaneers' inaugural A-Sun game on Dec. 1, 2005 (66-52). However, since then, the Lady Bucs have not had much luck versus the Bruins; going winless in the last four meetings. Both clubs are coming off 20-plus victories on Saturday, but the victor of this game will hold an upper hand for being in contention of a regular season conference title shot.
Fans unable to make the trip to Nashville can view all the action via the live video streaming accessed at ASun.TV or by clicking the link located above.
Below is a breakdown of Monday's match-up:
Lady Bucs' Last Time Out
Senior Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) poured in a career-high 21 points and sophomore post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) posted her fourth-ever double-double with a career-best 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Lady Bucs cruised past Lipscomb, 77-55, Saturday afternoon inside Allen Arena.
The victory marks ETSU's second road win of the season, but more importantly the Lady Bucs improved to 3-1 in conference play (7-10 overall). Lipscomb dropped to 3-14, 1-3, and has now lost five of the six meetings against ETSU.
Last season the ETSU women's basketball team did not look so hot inside Allen Arena, but on Saturday the Lady Buccaneers avenged their five-point loss by receiving a total team effort in the win. Along with Norman and Belcher's career performances, senior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) and freshman guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) each chipped in 10 points. In total, nine different Lady Buccaneer players reached the scoring column.
For the contest, the Lady Buccaneers went 29-for-65 (44.6 percent) from the floor, while holding Lipscomb to 19-of-57 shooting (33.3 percent). ETSU put on a clinic with its passing, totaling 18 assists on the afternoon. Sophomore Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) is usually making noise for her scoring and rebounding, but on Saturday she set a new career mark with six assists; while fellow sophomore teammate TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) dished out a career-high five. ETSU's defense forced the Lady Bisons to cough the ball up 25 times and return the Lady Bucs scored 29 points off those miscues.
Belmont has won three of its last four games, and currently stands at 9-8, 3-1 in A-Sun play. The Bruins mirror the Lady Bucs in conference play as they also have wins over Campbell, Lipscomb and USC Upstate, and their lone loss came at Gardner-Webb. However, the winner of Monday's game will move into a tie for second-place after the Runnin' Bulldogs fell at Campbell Saturday.
The Bruins are coming off an 89-63 victory over USC Upstate on Saturday, and have a 6-3 record inside the Curb Event Center.
Three Belmont players are averaging double figures in scoring with Brooke Sunday leading the way at 13.1 points per game. Jessica Bobbitt is adding 10.4ppg and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
As a team, Belmont is averaging 62.1 points per game, and allowing 64.5 per contest (-2.4 scoring margin). The Bruins sure miss Alysha Clark, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Year, as they are being out-rebounded 41.6 to 37.5 (-4.1 margin), and shooting only 37.7 percent from the field.
Belmont leads the all-time series, 4-3, and the Bruins have won the last four meetings, including the most recent match-up in last year's A-Sun Championship game, 69-57. The last time ETSU defeated Belmont came on Dec. 1, 2005, when the Lady Bucs played in their first-ever Atlantic Sun game, 66-52. ETSU has not won on Belmont's home floor since handing them a 67-55 loss on Jan. 10, 1980 (1-2 all-time at Belmont).
Senior post Jenny Norman loves playing against A-Sun foes. In the four conference games thus far, Norman has posted 13.8 points and is connecting on 64.7 percent of her shots (22-34). The percentage ranks her second in the conference. Norman is coming off a career-high 21-point performance Saturday at Lipscomb.
Money In The Bank...
Should the Lady Bucs hold the lead with 5:00 left in the ballgame and hold their opponent under 60 points, it is safe to say ETSU will win the contest. ETSU is 6-0 when leading after 35 minutes have been completed, and 4-0 when not allowing over 60 points.
Lady Bucs Havin' Fun in the A-Sun
Prior to the season, ETSU was picked to finish first in the conference according to the media and second by the coaches. The Lady Bucs started their third season in the league (3-1) after posting stellar starts the previous two years. During the last two seasons, ETSU has tallied 28 regular season conference wins and the Lady Bucs have the highest winning percentage among conference foes both all-time and in conference play. ETSU is currently 43-16 (.729) all-time against current A-Sun members and 32-13 (.711) in league play (including the conference tournament). The Lady Bucs have perfect marks against Campbell (5-0), Kennesaw State (4-0), North Florida (4-0) and USC Upstate (1-0) all-time as well as against Stetson (4-0) in league play only.
A Look Ahead
ETSU will make a quick visit back to Memorial Center Friday night before heading down for a critical A-Sun showdown with conference leader Jacksonville next Monday. The Lady Bucs will face North Florida Friday night at 7 p.m.
Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for more information regarding the Lady Buccaneer basketball and all other athletic news.