NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2010) - One thing is for certain, Lipscomb's Allen Arena can be considered a new home away from home for the ETSU women's basketball team.
The last seven times the Lady Bucs walked inside this arena ETSU came out with a win (including two Atlantic Sun Tournament titles), and it wasn't any different for the eighth trip, as senior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) battled through a knee injury - lifting the Blue and Gold to a 76-65 victory Thursday evening in Nashville.
Evans, who didn't start or see any action in the first half, came off the bench to give the Lady Bucs a huge spark in the second. The Preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year selection finished with 14 points and four rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. Joining Evans with strong performances were fellow senior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) and sophomore Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.). Wiles came through with 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 40 minutes for ETSU. Washington scored 11 of her 17 points in the second half and also pulled down seven rebounds.
The win marked the fifth straight for the Lady Bucs, as ETSU improved to 9-7, 7-1 in A-Sun play. Lipscomb suffered its third straight loss and dropped to 4-15, 2-7.
"I was disappointed on how we came out flat, but fortunately Siarre gave us a spark and we found a way to win," commented head coach Karen Kemp, who improved to 11-1 all-time against Lipscomb. "It's frustrating to not have anyone come off the bench and step up in Evans' absence, but Siarre is willing to do anything to help this team win."
ETSU jumped out to a quick 4-0 start thanks to a pair of buckets from Wiles, but Lipscomb answered with a 10-4 run to take a 10-8 lead with 16:05 remaining in the half. However, Wiles' hot hand put ETSU back ahead, as the senior guard drained back-to-back treys - giving the Lady Bucs a 14-10 advantage at the 15:18 mark.
From there, ETSU held a lead for the next 4 minutes, 56 seconds, but with the Lady Bucs up 23-17, the Lady Bisons scored eight unanswered points to regain a 25-23 advantage with 8:06 showing on the clock. The final 6 minutes, 12 seconds were tightly contested as four ties and four lead changes were recorded, but ETSU managed to take a 35-31 lead into the break.
The Lady Bucs shot 40 percent (14-35) in the opening 20 minutes of action, but were only 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc. Lipscomb, meanwhile, shot 39.3 percent (11-28) and the Lady Bisons were also an identical 2-for-9 from long range. ETSU made all five of its free throws, while Lipscomb went 7-of-10. Wiles led all scores at the break with 14, and Lipscomb's Chelsea McMeans and Valerie Bronson led the way with five apiece.
In the second half, Washington and Wiles scored the first 11 points for ETSU, and the Lady Bucs extended their lead to 11, 46-35, forcing Lipscomb to burn a 30-second timeout following Wiles' floater at the 14:18 mark.
After building a 13-point advantage (50-37), Lipscomb dug deep and the Lady Bucs' lead quickly evaporated. The Lady Bisons scored the next 13 points to even the game at 50 with 9:32 remaining in the game.
However, Evans would return to the court and Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) stopped the bleeding on the next possession as she sank a pair of free throws. Eventually the Lady Bucs would go up 54-50, after the Murfreesboro, Tenn. native found Evans all alone for a lay-up at the 8:55 mark.
Again, ETSU would push its lead back into double figures when Evans' 3-pointer gave the Lady Bucs a 66-54 cushion; however, the 12-point margin wasn't too comfortable.
Lipscomb would lower the deficit to six, 66-60, but Wiles nailed a three-pointer in front of the Lady Buccaneer bench - making it a 69-60 contest with 3 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game. Wiles' three-pointer proved to be the dagger and the Lady Bucs walked away with an 11-point victory in conference action.
For the game, ETSU shot 41.5 percent (27-65) from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (6-18). Lipscomb finished 38.6 percent (22-57) and 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from 3-point land. The Lady Bucs did an excellent job making their free throws, as ETSU went 16-for-19 at the charity stripe. Both teams pulled down 39 rebounds, while ETSU assisted on 16 of its 27 makes.
Lipscomb was led by Chelsea Burroughs' 16 points in the loss.
The Lady Bucs wrap up their brief stint in the Music City with a road game at Belmont on Saturday afternoon. Tip time is set for 3 p.m. (Eastern) inside the Curb Event Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.