Johnson City, Tenn. - East Tennessee State freshman guard Racquel Ellis drained a 15-foot jumper as time expired to give the Lady Bucs an exciting 53-51 Southern Conference win over UNC Greensboro.
Ellis finished the game with 16 points on 7-13 shooting. Despite the thrilling buzzer beater, this night belonged to ETSU senior guard Chris Forman.
Playing in her final collegiate home game, Forman scored a game-high 18 points, including four three-pointers. She scored 15 in the second half, including a stretch where she hit five straight shots. She scored nine points in a crucial 16-7 run late in the second half, including a three-pointer that gave the Lady Bucs a 42-41 lead that they would not give up. "Chris has given us hard work and dedication since the day she stepped on campus," said Lady Buc head coach Karen Kemp.
The Spartans had cut the Lady Buc lead to one at 51-50 following a Brianne Dodgen jumper with :59 remaining in the game. UNCG guard ChoRhonda Gwaltney was fouled with :10 remaining and had a chance to give the Spartans the lead, but she missed the final free throw. Freshman forward Lauren Trantham pulled down the rebound and passed it to Ellis, who took it the length of the floor and put up the dramatic shot. "I was really nervous," Ellis commented following the game. "But I did what I do best which is drive to the basket."
The key to the ETSU second half comeback was their defense. The Lady Bucs held UNC Greensboro to 17 percent shooting in the second half, while ETSU shot 37 percent. "I do not think we have played defense like this before," said Kemp. "That was a key."
The Lady Bucs were led in rebounding by junior forward Megan Jackson and Trantham who both pulled down six boards. Sophomore forward Misty Copas led ETSU with a season-high three steals.
UNC Greensboro was led by Dodgen who tallied her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Dodgen also added a team-high three steals for the Spartans.
The win moves ETSU into a tie with College of Charleston for fifth in the Southern Conference. "This game really helped us," said Forman following the game. "I think some of the younger players can see what we can do going into the tournament."
The Lady Bucs play their final game of the regular season at Furman at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26 at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.