KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 5, 2011) - Four Lady Bucs scored in double figures as junior guard Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) tied her career high with 21 points, and ETSU capped off the Georgia sweep with a 73-61 victory over Kennesaw State Wednesday evening inside the KSU Convocation Center.
Freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) - who was fresh off her second Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week honor - tallied her third straight double-double by registering 18 points and 11 rebounds. In addition to Pickwell and Mitchell, junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) netted 11 points, while red-shirt senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) added 10 points and seven rebounds.
With the win, ETSU has now won back-to-back games for the first time since the start of the season and improved to 6-7, 3-1 in A-Sun play. The Owls dropped to 3-9, 0-4 on the year.
Pickwell, who knocked down her first three three-point attempts, has scored at least 18 points in five of her last seven games, and has been a key contributor to the Lady Bucs' success during this stretch.
"Natalie is feeling a lot more confident in herself, and she is doing what we need her to do in order to help make this team successful," said head coach Karen Kemp, who improved to 10-0 lifetime against Kennesaw State. "I think we picked up the intensity a bit in the second half and went back to what got us up early in the game. We were penetrating and kicking it out to our shooters, and we were able to get them into foul trouble. Once that happened, we were able to build a big lead and come away with another conference road win."
The Lady Bucs came out on fire as they scored the first nine points of the contest and eventually took a 13-5 lead into the first media timeout at the 15:20 mark. ETSU continued its strong shooting as Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Pickwell drained back-to-back threes and put the Lady Bucs up 21-7, forcing Kennesaw State to burn a timeout with only six minutes coming off the clock. The Blue and Gold pushed their advantage to 18, but a 12-0 Kennesaw State run made it 25-19 after Tamasha Bolden connected on a jumper with eight minutes left in the half.
Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) finally snapped the Owl surge with a lay-up at the 7:48 mark, and ETSU regained the momentum as Belcher gave the Lady Bucs a 33-21 lead after putting in a pair of free throws with 5:03 showing on the clock. However, Kennesaw State continued fighting back and cut its deficit in half as the Lady Bucs carried a 37-31 lead into the locker room.
ETSU got some well-balanced scoring in the first 20 minutes as eight of the nine players who saw action reached the scoring column, and the Lady Bucs shot 41 percent (13-32) as a team. The Lady Bucs also made all eight of their free throw attempts, while scoring 15 points off 12 Kennesaw State turnovers.
Coach Kemp's speech at the break paid off as the Lady Bucs used the first 5 minutes, 16 seconds to expand their six-point halftime lead to 16, 53-37, after Davis made her second free throw attempt with 14:44 left in the game. ETSU continued piling it on over the next 5 minutes, 20 seconds and Pickwell put the Lady Bucs up 63-42 thanks to her fourth three-pointer at the 9:24 mark.
The Lady Bucs led by 21 two other times in the contest, but the Owls never gave up down the stretch; however, Kennesaw State ran out of time as the Lady Bucs wrapped up their five-game road swing with three victories.
Despite only shooting 38.7 percent for the game (24-62), the Lady Buccaneer defense forced the Owls into 25 turnovers and scored 33 points off those mistakes. After out-rebounding Mercer by 32 on Monday night, ETSU was out-numbered on the glass as Kennesaw State finished with a plus-10 margin - 50 to 40. Once again the Blue and Gold shot well from the charity stripe, finishing 19-of-24.
Kennesaw State had three players score in double figures as Sametria Gideon led the way with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lady Bucs return home for the first time in 2011 on Saturday, Jan. 8 when ETSU hosts league-leading Florida Gulf Coast. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.