JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 2, 2003) - East Tennessee State's women' basketball team had nothing to be ashamed of after its 77-65 loss to Chattanooga in the Southern Conference opener for both teams at Memorial Center Thursday night.
"I was extremely proud of our intensity tonight," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "UTC is very talented, and to be in a position where we were right in the game up until the end was very positive for us. Hopefully, we can eliminate the negative things that hurt us and improve on those positives and build on that."
The Buccaneers (3-7, 0-1 SoCon) went into halftime down by four points, 36-32, and managed to tied the game at 43-43 early in the second half, but in the end the Lady Mocs proved why they are heavily favored to win their third consecutive SoCon title.
Chattanooga (8-2, 1-0 SoCon) shot over 41 percent from three-point land for the game and out-rebounded the Lady Bucs 38-31 as the Mocs sealed the victory with accurate free throw shooting late in the game. ETSU, however, didn't benefit as much from the charity stripe, shooting just 57 percent from the free-throw line in the second half (8-14).
"ETSU is a very tough team to beat in (Memorial Center)," said Chattanooga head coach Wes Moore. "Tonight's win wasn't very pretty, but hopefully we got it out of our system."
Thursday's loss marked the first loss at home for the Lady Bucs this season, who were coming off of impressive victories at Memorial Center over UNC Asheville and Tusculum.
Freshman point guard B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) led the Buccaneers with 13 points against the Lady Mocs on 6-of-6 shooting at the free throw line. Junior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) added 10 points to the ETSU effort. Junior forward, and pre-season All-Southern Conference selection Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) was held to just nine points and six rebounds, but tallied four blocks, as the Lady Mocs were able to keep the ball from getting into the post most of the evening.
Chattanooga was led by Heather McDivitt(Germantown, Tenn.) and Katie Galloway (Chattanooga, Tenn.) who each scored 13 points, while Shamya Sermons (Valdosta, Ga.) added 10 points and a game-high four steals.
ETSU will travel to Georgia Southern on Saturday with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. The Lady Bucs will then head to Appalachian State on Wednesday, Jan. 8.