JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 29, 2001) - East Tennessee State shot a torrid 70 percent from the field in the second half to take control of a back and forth game and defeat defending Southern Conference champions, Chattanooga, 92-83, Saturday afternoon from Memorial Center in Johnson City.
The Lady Bucs jumped out in front quickly, building a 9-4 lead with 16:28 remaining in the first half after a Ashley Reed (Barrackville, W.Va) three-pointer. However, the Lady Mocs fought back and took a 13-12 lead just three minutes later. ETSU took an eight-point lead, 30-22, with 4:30 left in the half after two Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) free throws, but would see that lead evaporate as Chattanooga would quickly go on a 13-4 run that would give the Lady Mocs a 35-34 lead going into halftime.
The Lady Bucs would begin the second half on a 9-0 run to again take an eight-point lead, 43-35 with 17:41 remaining in the game. But, much like the first half, the Lady Mocs came right back, going on a 9-0 run to take the lead back with 13:54 remaining, 46-45. This would begin a frantic second half that included 15 lead changes and eight ties. The Lady Bucs would take control for good after two free throws by Trantham gave ETSU an 84-83 lead with 2:15 remaining. Megan Jackson (Paris, Tenn.) then made consecutive layups to make the score 88-83 and fuel an 8-0 ETSU run to close the game.
ETSU shot 21-30 (.700) from the floor in the second half, including 3-5 from three-point range. For the game, the Lady Bucs shot 58 percent from both the field (33-57) and three-point range (7-12).
Jackson was the star of the Lady Buc second-half rally, scoring 15 of her season-high 17 points in the second stanza. The senior forward shot a perfect 8-8 from the floor for the game and played great defense against Lady Moc star guard Damita Bullock.
"Megan really had a great game at both ends of the floor," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "She did a tremendous job defensively against the two-time defending Southern Conference Player-of-the-Year (Bullock) and she hit some key baskets for us down the stretch."
The Lady Bucs also received key contributions from Reed and Trantham. Reed had game-highs with 20 points and six assists. The freshman guard was 6-11 from the field, including 4-6 from three-point range.
Trantham was an inside force for ETSU, scoring a career-high 17 points on 5-10 shooting. She also was 7-7 from the free throw line and pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Bullock led the Lady Mocs with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds, but was just 4-13 from the floor on the afternoon. Forward Jennifer Wilson also had nine rebounds and scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting for Chattanooga. Lady Moc guard Miranda Warfield scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half, knocking down three three-pointers in the second stanza.
The win moves ETSU's record to 7-4, 2-0 in Southern Conference play. The seven wins is as many as ETSU had in the entire 2000-01 season. Chattanooga falls to 6-4, 1-1 in the SoCon. This is ETSU's first win over Chattanooga since the 1998-99 season.
"We have worked hard since day one with a goal of being the Southern Conference champions," said Kemp following the game. "With the way that this team is playing, we think that is an attainable goal.
The win gives the Lady Bucs a three-game winning streak and a six-game winning streak at home. This also marks another win for the Lady Bucs when they reach the 80-point plateau. Over the last three seasons, ETSU is 23-1 when scoring more than 80.
The Lady Bucs return to action on Monday, Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m. against Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern. Chattanooga will continue their road trip, playing at College of Charleston on Dec. 31 at 6 p.m.