CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Southern Conference Player of the Year Tiffani Mayes scored 23 points in the Bucs first round Southern Conference Tournament game against Appalachian State, but it was freshman Michele Devault, who poured in five three-pointers to hold off the Mountaineers' comeback bid, 74-64 at Maclellan Gym.
Mayes tallied 12 first-half points to stake the Bucs to a 27-17 advantage at the half, but the Mountaineers came out shooting in the second period and outscored ETSU 40-30 to send the game into overtime. ASU took its first lead of the second half on a Whitney Tossie jumper at 3:01, then Lindsay Smith sank one of two free throws to stretch the Mountaineer advantage to three, 55-52, with 2:18 to play.
B.J. Banjo's layup at 2:00 put ETSU back within one, but a Tossie rebound and putback made the ASU advantage three once again. With 1:26 on the clock, Devault sank her third three pointer of the day to even the score at 57, which stood for the remainder of regulation.
ETSU grabbed the tip in the overtime period and Devault immediately drained another trey to put the Bucs on top by three. A backdoor layup by Danielle Edwards put the Mountaineers within two, and with 3:46 left in overtime Mayes picked up her fifth foul. A minute and a half later, the Buc lead was still three when Devault drove a nail in the Appalchian State's coffin with her fifth and final trey on the night. Though the Mountaineers had several chances from the free throw line to cut into the Bucs' lead, ASU was five-for 10 from the line in overtime, and 10-for-22 for the game, while ETSU's Banjo sank five of six over the last 45 seconds to keep the Buccaneer's season alive.
In addition to Mayes' 23-point effort, point guard Banjo poured in 22 points, making 12 of 15 free shots, and dished off eight assists with five steals. Devault totaled 15 points on five-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc, and Nichelle Akers contributed 10 with a five-of-seven day from the field. Candace Gibson made just two field goals in the game, but led ETSU with 13 rebounds and played in 40 of the game's 45 minutes.
The Mountaineers, who suffered their second overtime loss in the last three Southern Conference tournaments, were paced by Lindsay Smith's 18 points, 15 of which came on three-pointers, and Kiki Conyers' 12 point effort. Danielle Edward totaled 14 rebounds, while Whitney Tossie scored eight with a team-best three assists.
With the victory, ETSU improves to 12-16 overall and 10-11 in the Southern Conference. The Bucs will face the top seeded Mocs of Chattanooga Thursday at Maclellan Gym, in the second game of the morning session. The ASU loss drops the Mountaineers to 11-17 on the season.
Quotes From ETSU Coach Karen Kemp
On What She Told Mayes (Fouled out 3:46 in OT)
"Tiffani, you're gonna be playing tomorrow.
"Everyone contributed to this win. Devault made threes, we made great passes, and everyone was involved in this win today.
On Michelle Devault
"Michelle's three when the shot clock was going down was key. That shot gave us the confidence and momentum we needed for the win."
On Playing Without Tiffani
"This was our first time with Tiffani fouling out, and our girls really stepped up their play. B.J. did a great job running the floor."
"We have to play solid defense, rebound, and play like it could be our last game."
Quotes from Appalachian State Coach Adrienne Shuler
On End of Regulation
"Down the stretch we made some crucial mistakes, leaving their shooters open. Banjo did a tremendous job tying up the ball at the end of regulation. In overtime we just didn't execute very well.
On Mayes Fouling Out
"When Mayes was out I thought we could get the ball inside, but they did a good job of dropping in an extra guard down to the post."