JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2010) - The ETSU women's basketball team hopes to take care of business this weekend and secure at least a share of an Atlantic Sun regular season crown in Jacksonville.
The Lady Bucs, who close out regular season play at UNF on Thursday (5:30 p.m.) and Jacksonville Saturday at noon, trail Florida Gulf Coast by a half-game in the league standings. The Eagles close up shop on Thursday night when FGCU travels to Spartanburg for a meeting with USC Upstate. Should both ETSU and FGCU win out, both teams will clinch a share of the league title - marking the second time in the last three years the Lady Bucs have accomplished the feat.
"We know as long as we take care of business in Jacksonville; that we are guaranteed a share of the regular season title," added head coach Karen Kemp, who has her Lady Bucs riding a five-game winning streak into Thursday's game at UNF. "We will be cheering for Upstate on Thursday night, but we still have to remain focused and prepare for the Ospreys."
ETSU (18-8, 16-2) wrapped up its perfect home season Monday night, defeating Upstate 88-67 on Senior Day. The Lady Bucs went 11-0 inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center this season and averaged 83.5 points per game. Five players averaged double figures with senior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) posting 17.0 points per game and Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) nearly missing a double-double in the 11 games. Evans averaged 14.0 points and 9.9 rebounds a game.
One of the five players to also hit double figures in scoring at home was junior Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Davis, who is leading the team in scoring over the last eight games (14.6), averaged 12.3 points per game in Johnson City. Also, Davis is coming off her first career A-Sun Player of the Week accolade after notching 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists at Campbell.
North Florida (9-18, 6-12) is coming off back-to-back losses at Kennesaw State (59-63) and Mercer (47-61); however, the Ospreys are 8-4 at home - including a 57-56 victory over league-leading Florida Gulf Coast back on Feb. 13. The Ospreys are led by sophomore guard Brittany Kirkland and junior point guard Juliemay Syquio. Kirkland leads the club in scoring at 14.2ppg; while Syquio - an A-Sun Player of the Week recipient - is tallying 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. UNF is one of the strongest defensive clubs in the conference, as the Ospreys rank first in field goal percentage defense (34.7), second in scoring defense (55.4) and third in 3-point field percentage defense (29.5).
The Lady Bucs lead the all-time series, 7-1. ETSU won the first meeting earlier this year, defeating the Ospreys, 82-54, back on Dec. 5. Evans led four Lady Buccaneer players in double figures, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Wiles also posted a double-double, recording 14 points and 10 boards. As a team, ETSU drained 11 threes, finished 11-of-13 from the free throw line, and out-rebounded the Ospreys 54-45. UNF's lone win in the series came a year ago in Jacksonville when the Ospreys snapped the Lady Bucs' 10-game conference winning streak with an 80-73 victory inside UNF Arena.
Fans unable to make the trip to Jacksonville can catch all the action live via ASun.TV. Also live stats will be provided courtesy of UNF Athletics.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.