CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Junior guard B.J. Banjo scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, including seven down the stretch, as eighth-seeded East Tennessee State upset the top-seeded and home-standing Chattanooga Lady Mocs, 55-50, in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Kyocera Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championships at Maclellan Gymnasium.
Chattanooga seemed poised to put the game out of reach in the first half, as the SoCon regular season champions opened up a 25-15 lead late in the frame thanks to a decisive 20-to-nine rebounding edge. But ETSU clawed back, closing the half on a 9-0 run to head to the locker room even at 26.
The Lady Mocs regained the momentum early in the second stanza, pulling ahead by nine, 43-34, on a Tiffany Patton lay-up at the 11:06 mark.
Banjo got hot, however, and her three-pointer with just over seven minutes to go pulled the Lady Bucs back into the lead at 47-45. UTC's Katasha Brown responded with a trey of her own one minute later to put the Lady Mocs back ahead by one, but that would be Chattanooga's final field goal of the day.
ETSU nailed six-of-eight free throws over the game's final 2:25 while Chattanooga missed its final eight shots from the floor to seal the outcome.
Overall, UTC made just 33.3 percent (19-of-57) of its field goals but held a 42-to-28 rebounding advantage. The Lady Mocs also struggled from the foul line, converted on just nine-of-18 (50 percent) attempts. ETSU, on the other hand, shot 41.9 percent (18-of-43) from the field and 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the charity stripe.
ETSU's victory marks only the second time in tournament history that a number eight seed has topped a number one seed. The Lady Bucs also accomplished that feat in 1997, as they downed top-seeded Furman.
In addition to Banjo's 18 points, ETSU also benefited from 15 points by Nichelle Akers and an 11-point, 10-rebound performance by Candace Gibson.
Chattanooga (24-4) was led in scoring by Tiffani Roberson, who poured in 18 points, while Tiffany Patton recorded her third consecutive double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
With the win, ETSU (13-16) advances to face Georgia Southern, the tournament's number five seed, at noon Friday in the semifinal round at McKenzie Arena.
East Tennessee State Head Coach Karen Kemp
"This was one of the biggest wins in ETSU history. I'm so proud of our team, as they were very determined. Our focus the whole time has been that this is our tournament."
On SoCon Player of the Year, Tiffani Mayes, fouling out with just two points:
"Everyone keys on Tiffani so we needed someone else to step up. Fortunately, they did."
Chattanooga Head Coach Wes Moore
"Looking back, we maybe should've gone to the post more. They were scoring for us. I'll have to reevaluate myself and the game later."