JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 30, 2003) - Kelli Tiller's three pointer at the buzzer rimmed out as East Tennessee State held on to defeat Georgia Southern Tuesday, 65-64, from Memorial Center. With the victory, the Lady Bucs improve their record to 4-6 overall and 4-1 in the Southern Conference, their best start in the league since the 1994-95 season.
"This was a big win for us," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp whose squad moved ahead of Georgia Southern for second place in the SoCon. "These girls have made up their minds that they are going to play hard. I give them all the credit, because they stepped up when we needed them to."
ETSU trailed 34-31 going into halftime. Jessica Everett and Shawnica Hill paced the Eagles with 10 points each in the first half. Everett finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, while Hill added just one more point, totaling 11 for the game.
Georgia Southern (6-3, 3-1 SoCon) led by as many as six points with 6:05 remaining, but couldn't overcome a poor shooting performance in the second half. The Eagles shot just 26.5 percent from the floor in the second frame, while ETSU went 13-of-26 (50.0%) to secure the victory. The win was the third come-from-behind victory for the Lady Bucs in as many games, snapping Georgia Southern's six-game winning streak in the process.
Senior Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) led ETSU with 15 points and five steals. Senior Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) pitched in another strong performance with 12 points. Junior Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) and senior Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.) each scored nine. Mayes had 12 rebounds, and Trantham tallied four blocks. Freshman Anna Marie Ricciardi (Canfield, Ohio) scored a career-high eight points, connecting on all four of her shots.
ETSU will travel to Chattanooga this Saturday, Jan. 3, to take on the defending Southern Conference champions. The Lady Mocs are off to a 10-2 start and hold an undefeated 5-0 mark in the SoCon. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.