CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2004) -- The East Tennessee State Lady Bucs won their first road game of the season with a 75-67 victory over Southern Conference rival Western Carolina Monday night from the Ramsey Activities Center in Cullowhee, N.C.
Prior to tonight's game, ETSU (6-8, 6-3 SoCon) had fallen in its last nine road games, with the last win coming at College of Charleston, 82-80, on Feb. 10 of last season.
The first half featured four lead changes before a furious run to close the half by the Lady Bucs. After two successful free-throws by Western Carolina's (4-10, 3-4 SoCon) Shaketia Barnes tied the score at 24 with 4:18 left before halftime, ETSU went on a 11-3 run to close the half and would never look back. That four-minute stretch was punctuated by a three-pointer by Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) with five seconds left in the half.
Leading 35-27 at the break, the Lady Bucs came out with confidence in the second stanza, pushing their lead to a game-high 17 points with a 9-0 run to start the half.
ETSU cruised for the remainider of the game, but the Catamounts did fight back late in the contest. Western Carolina trimmed the Lady Buc lead down to seven points, 70-63, with 2:06 remaining after hitting three clutch three-pointers over a four-and-a-half minute span. But ETSU hit their free-throws down the stretch to come away with the victory.
Verdell led the Lady Bucs in scoring for the second-consecutive game, scoring a season-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 3-of-6 from behind the arc. Sophomore point guard B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) added a career-high 17 points including a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. Junior forward Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) scored 12 points on 6-of-8 from the floor while senior forward Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) continued her strong play off of the bench, scoring 10 points and pulling down four rebounds. Senior forward Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) led the Lady bucs with seven rebounds, while freshman guard Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) had a game-high six assists and four steals.
Western Carolina was led by Jennifer Gardner, who came off the bench to tally a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Lori Tanner also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
The Lady Bucs return home to face rival Appalachian State at 1 p.m. on Saturday from Memorial Center in the first game of an ETSU Basketball doubleheader. The Lady Bucs, will put their undefeated home record (5-0) on the line, while the Buccaneer men's team will follow by facing Western Carolina at 4 p.m. For ticket information, contact the Buccaneer ticket office at 423-439-5371.