NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2010) - How sweep it is!
For the third straight year the Lady Bucs walked into Nashville and walked out with a pair of conference wins over Lipscomb and Belmont. Seniors Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and TaRonda
Wiles (Danville, Va.) capped off the sweep by registering double-doubles, as ETSU knocked off Belmont, 81-67, inside the Curb Event Center on Saturday afternoon.
Evans came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, marking her 11th double-double of the year. Meanwhile, Wiles posted her third double-double of the season by netting 20 points and grabbing 10 boards.
With the win, the Lady Bucs notched their sixth straight victory and ETSU improved its mark to 10-7, 8-1 in A-Sun play. Belmont suffered its second consecutive loss and dipped to 9-9, 4-6.
"Coming away with a conference road win is always big," commented head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs have won five straight over Belmont. "We knew they were going to be ready after coming off a heartbreaking loss to Campbell on Thursday. They (Belmont) came out focused, but we matched them with a run to settle things down. Basketball is a game of runs and today we saw that on the court. Fortunately, we were able to make the final run and come away with an important victory."
Despite only hitting one field goal in the opening six minutes of the first half, surprisingly ETSU wasn't in too deep of a hole, as the Lady Bucs only trailed 8-5 at the 14:10 mark. From there, the Lady Bucs managed to find an inside presence, as ETSU's post players scored the next eight points for the Blue and Gold to regain a 13-10 lead after Ashley Benedict (Rome, Ohio) hit a jumper with 11 minutes, 20 seconds showing on the clock.
The Lady Bucs continued to find some rhythm - and after Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) hit Evans for a break-away lay-up - ETSU led 20-12 forcing Belmont to burn a 30-second timeout with less than nine minutes to play before intermission. Eventually ETSU built an 11-point lead, 25-14, when Evans found Wiles for an easy fast-break lay-in at the 6:51 mark.
However, Belmont picked up its intensity and mounted a run to take a 34-33 lead into the locker room. With ETSU leading 32-24 at the 2:23 mark, Belmont went on a 10-2 spurt to close out the half and held the one-point advantage at the break.
After doing a great job of controlling the ball over the last four games, ETSU managed to turn the ball over 10 times in the opening stanza - resulting in 17 points for Belmont. The Lady Bucs dominated in the paint, as they outscored the Bruins 20-8, but ETSU couldn't stay consistent with its shooting. The Lady Bucs were 13-of-33 from the floor (39.4 percent) and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc (37.5 percent), while Belmont finished 11-of-33 (33.3 percent) and 5-for-17 from three (29.4 percent).
Both teams began the second half with a bunch of firepower and the Lady Bucs recaptured a 45-43 lead when Wiles nailed a three-pointer with 14:43 remaining in the game. Minutes later Evans nailed a three from same location, but Belmont answered with a trey from the corner - making it a 52-49 contest with 11 minutes, 19 seconds showing on the clock.
However, the left wing was Wiles' hot-spot, as the senior guard nailed another 3-pointer off an inbounds play to put ETSU ahead, 57-49, forcing Belmont to call a 30-second timeout with 9:38 left in the game.
Again, the Lady Bucs pushed their lead into double figures, 61-51, after Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) made one of her two free throw attempts; however, the Bruins continued to hover around. Belmont scored the next five points to cut the margin in half, but a baseline jumper by Wiles and an Evans three put the Blue and Gold back up 10, 66-56, with 4:14 to play.
The Bruins would get to within five (71-65) down the stretch, but ETSU hit 10 consecutive free throws in the final 48 seconds to come away with the 14-point win.
The Lady Bucs shot 48 percent in the second half and finished 25-of-58 for the game (43.1 percent). ETSU also out-rebounded the Bruins 46 to 36, and the Lady Bucs' bench outscored Belmont, 34 to 10. ETSU assisted on 17 of its 25 made field goals, while also going 24-of-30 (80.0 percent) from the charity stripe.
Gordon was the third Lady Buccaneer player to score in double figures, as she finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Belmont had four players finish in double figures with Haley Nelson leading the way with 17.
The Lady Bucs return home for their longest homestand of the season, beginning on Wednesday evening when ETSU hosts Campbell. Tip is set for 4:45 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.