JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2003) - For the sixth time this season the East Tennessee State women's basketball team rallied from a first half deficit Monday as the Lady Bucs defeated Western Carolina 78-73 in ETSU's home finale from Memorial Center.
The Catamounts (7-14, 6-8 SoCon) led 35-32 at halftime led by 14 first-half points by Yoneko Allen and 13 points by Tiffany Hamm. Allen and Hamm each shot 5-of-6 from the floor in the first stanza. Hamm finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds, while Allen netted 17. Sigita Maleraite scored a career-high 15 points, all in the second half.
East Tennessee State, which improved to an even 11-11 overall and 11-5 in the SoCon, went on a 17-2 run to open the second half. A jumper by junior Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) gave the Lady Bucs their largest lead at 12 points with 14:47 left to play and forced WCU head coach Beth Dunkenberger to take her second timeout of the half. Mayes ended up with 22 points on 8-of15 shooting.
The Catamounts were able to get within five points with 41 seconds on the clock when Allen stole the ball and fed Lori Tanner for an easy lay in. However, ETSU hung on to win its second straight while remaining in third place in the SoCon standings.
Seniors Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.), Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.), and Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) were honored before the game during ETSU's annual "Senior Night" tribute. Trantham celebrated by recording the 24th double-double of her career with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Now with 789 career rebounds, Trantham moved ahead of Lady Buc great Jackie Phillips (1979-82) for fifth place on the all-time rebounding list at ETSU.
Verdell went on to score all 15 of her points in the second half. She also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. Lonon, who has seen limited action since Feb. 7 when she returned from an ankle injury that sidelined her for four games, played eight minutes. She scored three points and had two steals.
On Saturday, Feb. 14, ETSU will head to Appalachian State for the beginning of a four-game road swing to close out the 2003-04 season. Tip-off versus the Mountaineers is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, N.C. The Lady Bucs have won their last three road games dating back to a 75-67 win at Western Carolina on Jan. 12.