JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2004) - For the ninth straight time, the Furman women's basketball team proved to be too much for East Tennessee State to handle. Deshara Shealey and Jen Nadalin both scored 18 points Monday to lead the Lady Paladins to an 80-68 victory over ETSU from Memorial Center. The loss also snaps a seven-game home winning streak for the Lady Bucs.
"The biggest difference is that in the first half we stuck with our game plan - versus the pressure we were getting wide-open looks and making smart decisions," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "In the second half we started forcing things and that just led to too many turnovers."
ETSU (8-9, 8-4 SoCon) held an 11-point lead in the first half following a 3-point basket by freshman Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.), giving the Lady Bucs an early 24-13 advantage at the 10:45 mark. But things would change in a hurry.
Furman (10-8, 7-4 SoCon) rallied back to tie the score at intermission, 37-37, thanks to a late run to end the first half. Then with 13:58 to go in the contest, Tommi Paris drained a 3-pointer that gave the Lady Paladins a nine-point cushion and forced a 30-second timeout by ETSU.
Head coach Sam Dixon's squad would extend its lead to 17 with just under three minutes remaining. The Lady Bucs were able to battle back thanks to a pair of threes by Wilhoit, but ETSU wasn't able to overcome a 44.4-percent (8-18) shooting effort from the free throw line.
Furman, one of the SoCon's top rebounding teams, controlled the offensive glass en route to the victory. The Lady Paladins garnered 12 offensive boards in the second frame, which led to 16 second-chance points. The visitors also forced 22 turnovers in the game.
In addition to pacing the Furman offense in point production, Shealey came away with six of her team's 13 steals and dished out five assists. Nadalin also pulled down 12 rebounds in registering her first double-double of the season. Kim Lawrence was able to add 10 points to the winning cause.
ETSU senior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) came out of the gates on fire and led all scorers with 17 points going into the locker room at halftime. Verdell finished with a game-high 27 points, one point shy of tying her career-best. Junior Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) tallied her team-leading fifth double-double of the season. Mayes netted 10 points and her 19 rebounds was a career-high and was the highest rebound total in the Southern Conference this season. Wilhoit scored 12 points, all of which came from beyond the arc, and sophomore B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) added 10.
East Tennessee State remains at home to take on SoCon rival Chattanooga this Saturday, Jan. 31. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Memorial Center. Meanwhile, Furman heads to Elon for its third straight contest on the road. That game will be played on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.