Johnson City, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2002) -- The East Tennessee State Lady Bucs found their touch from the outside in the second half and pulled away from the Western Carolina Lady Catamounts, winning, 73-59, Monday night from Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn. The victory is ETSU head coach Karen Kemp's 100th at the helm of the Lady Bucs.
East Tennessee State (10-14, 5-10 Southern Conference) led the game 32-28 after a first half dominated by defense. The Lady Bucs collected six steals in the first half while the Lady Catamounts 14-10, 6-9 SoCon) dominated the boards, outrebounding ETSU 27-19. Lady Buc junior forward Misty Copas (Kingsport, Tenn) had a game-high 10 points at the break while Western Carolina was led by senior center Laura Echols, who had seven points.
Western Carolina began the second half on a 9-3 run, taking a 39-35 lead after a layup by Marsh McGillivary with 14:24 remaining in the game. The two teams would trade the lead seven times during the middle of the second half before the Lady Bucs would go on a 22-7 run over the last 6:42 of the game that began with the Lady Catamounts in the lead, 52-51. The game-deciding run was sparked by ETSU junior guard Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) who began the stretch with two consecutive three-pointers.
The Lady Bucs were on fire from behind the arc in the second half, hitting on 6-10 from long range in the second stanza, including four in the last eight minutes of the game. ETSU also did a better job on the boards in the second half, outrebounding Western Carolina 24-18.
ETSU was led by Copas, who had a game-high 14 points on 4-7 from the floor and 6-8 from the free-throw line. Verdell and senior guard Erin Thurman (Hixson, Tenn.) each had 13 points, and Thurman added a game-high seven assists. Sophomore forward Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) contributed 10 points and had a game-high four steals. Freshman guard Ashley Reed (Barrackville, W. Va.) played key minutes in the second half and scored eight points, including a three-pointer with 51 seconds remaining that sealed the win.
"This is the best game that Ashley (Reed) has played recently," said Kemp. "She played good defense and did a great job pushing the ball up the floor and running the team for us."
Western Carolina was led by Echols, who had 13 points and added nine rebounds. Forward Janetta Heggins played well, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds while scoring eight points and dishing out a team-high four assists. McGillivary also scored in double-digits for the Lady Catamounts, tallying 11 points on the evening.
"I am proud of our girls," said Kemp. "We pushed the ball and really executed our game plan. We kept our composure, worked hard, and good things happened for us."
The Lady Bucs return to action with a trip to Southern Conference leader UNC Greensboro Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Western Carolina continues on the road, traveling to College of Charleston Saturday night at 7 p.m.