JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 18, 2003) - East Tennessee State junior Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) scored 12 of her team-high 15 points in the second half, but the Buccaneers late surge wasn't enough as College of Charleston defeated the Lady Bucs 74-71 in Memorial Center Saturday afternoon.
"You have to play two halves," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "I was proud with our second-half effort. We played with some intensity and played good defense. It's frustrating to play a good team and come out as flat as we did to begin the game."
The Cougars (7-8, 2-4 SoCon) took a 45-28 lead into halftime thanks to the hot shooting of guard Rachel King (Fort Wayne, Ind.), who scored 17 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range and forward Wilma Simpson (Summerville, S.C.), who added 14 first-half points on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor. The duo finished with 26 and 21 points, respectively. King's three-pointer with four seconds remaining in the first stanza gave College of Charleston a 17-point advantage, its largest lead of the game.
ETSU, which falls to 4-11 overall and 1-5 in the Southern Conference, forced 16 turnovers in the second half when the Lady Bucs began to make their run. Freshman point guard Adrienne Walker's (Augusta, Ga.) layup with 3:46 remaining tied the game at 62-62. The Buccaneers evened the scored on two more occasions; however, they could not manage to go ahead. College of Charleston hit all six of its free throw attempts in the closing seconds to secure the victory, despite a clutch basket from Walker and a three-pointer from walk-on sophomore Carla Akers (Greeneville, Tenn.) down the stretch.
Junior forward Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) added 11 points and a team-leading seven rebounds to the Lady Buc's cause. Junior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) scored nine points, including seven assists and a career-high six steals.
East Tennessee State will be in action again on Monday, Jan. 20, when the Buccaneers host Furman. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.