JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (November 13, 2003) - Junior center Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) showed her home crowd just how much she improved in the off-season. However, her efforts were not enough as the East Tennessee State women's basketball team dropped a 78-72 decision on Thursday to Lees-McRae in an exhibition game from Brooks Gym.
Mayes scored a game-high 26 points and led the Lady Bucs with six assists. She also tied for a team-high with six rebounds along with senior forward Lauren Trantham (Asheville, N.C.). Trantham, who was limited to just 15 minutes due to foul trouble, pitched in 11 points prior to fouling out with 19 seconds remaining in the game.
"I'm very pleased with the play of our posts," said ETSU head coach Karen Kemp. "Tiffani played and outstanding game, but it's hard to beat anybody when you send them to line 34 times."
In deed Trantham wasn't the only ETSU player to collect her fair share of fouls, and the Bobcats capitalized by hitting on over 80 percent of their free throw attempts to finish 28-of-34 from the charity stripe.
Lindsey Pope paced Lees-McRae with 20 points, while Laura Parker was perfect from the line (8-of-8) and added 15 points. Deanna Lady tallied the night's lone double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Courtney Gogolinski contributed 10 points coming off the bench.
ETSU, which played without preseason All-Southern Conference selection Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) who underwent minor knee surgery earlier in the week, started two freshmen in Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Holly Moring (Irmo, S.C.). Wilhoit scored five points in her debut, but Moring was held scoreless along with newcomer Dewanna Henderson (Oak Ridge, Tenn.).
Anna Marie Ricciardi (Canfield, Ohio) made an immediate impact for the Lady Bucs, going 3-of-4 from the floor for six points in 14 minutes, as did fellow freshman Whitney Tate (Woodbury, Tenn.), who also scored six in just under 20 minutes on the court. Another pleasant surprise for ETSU was the return of Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.). Gibson red-shirted the 2003-04 season, but finished with eight points and hauled in five rebounds in her first game back.
ETSU will be in action again on Sunday, Nov. 23, when the Lady Bucs tip-off against the National Women's Basketball League Select team. The game is schedule to begin at 2 p.m. in Brooks Gym. ETSU will open the regular season at Temple on Nov. 28, and will play its home opener on Nov. 13 against SoCon opponent UNC Greensboro. For a complete schedule, log on to www.ETSUBucs.com.