JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 21, 2001) - East Tennessee State went on a 21-3 run midway through the second half to take a lead they would never relinquish in an exciting 76-68 Lady Buc victory over Coastal Carolina Wednesday night from Memorial Center in Johnson City.
Coastal Carolina shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, leading to a 36-27 Lady Chanticleer lead at the break. Sophomore guard Nikki Reddick scored 18 points in the first half for Coastal on 7-10 shooting and 2-3 from behind the arc.
The second half began much like the first, with Coastal Carolina building their lead to as many as 15 at 47-32 with 13:40 remaining in the game. It was then that ETSU head coach Karen Kemp decided to play some of her talented freshmen, looking for a spark off of the bench.
With 12 minutes left in the game, the Lady Bucs were down 51-38. At that moment, ETSU would begin to take control of the game. With solid team defense and almost flawless outside shooting from junior Samantha Copeland (Evansville, Tenn.) and Ashley Reed (Barrackville, W. Va.), the Lady Bucs would begin their run, quickly finding themselves in contention for the lead.
"I could not be more proud of my freshmen tonight," said coach Kemp following the game. "Although I am glad to see the youth do well, we also need the upperclassman leadership as well."
Copeland led the Lady Bucs on their 21-3 run, scoring seven points and pulling down two rebounds in the 7:28 stretch.
"Sam had a great game offensively and defensively," said coach Kemp. "She did a tremendous job on (Nikki) Reddick defensively in the second half."
With 6:45 remaining in the game, freshman forward Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.) hit a cutting Misty Copas (Kingsport, Tenn.) with a perfect bounce pass for a layup to give the Lady Bucs a 55-54 lead.
ETSU's momentum would continue for the remainder of the game as they would build their lead to as many as 13 with 23 seconds remaining.
The Lady Bucs were led by senior guard Erin Thurman (Hixson, Tenn.), who scored a team high 15 points, all from long range as she shot 5-11 from behind the arc. Reed finished the game with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Copas had 12 points on the evening and sophomore Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) had a solid game with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Reddick turned in a phenomenal game, finishing with 34 points on 13-23 shooting from the floor. She also added six assists and five rebounds. Sophomore center Crystal Brown finished in double-figures with 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Freshman forward Courtney Brown pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
"We kept our composure tonight, which is always something you worry about with such a young team," said Kemp. "We did not panic, and that really made a difference."
The Lady Bucs return to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. as they travel to Tallahassee, Fla. to face Florida State in the first round of the Seminole Classic. Also participating in the classic are Akron and Saint Joseph's. Coastal Carolina's next game is at Campbell on Monday, Nov. 26 at 5:45 p.m.