Lady Bucs open SoCon play with 80-58 win
B.J. Banjo scored 18 points in ETSU's win over Elon
B.J. Banjo scored 18 points in ETSU's win over Elon

Friday, December 03, 2004

ELON, N.C. (Dec. 3, 2004) - Junior guard B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) scored 18 points and senior forward Tiffani Mayes (Sumter, S.C.) added 16 points and eight rebounds as East Tennessee State erased an 11-point first-half deficit en route to an 80-58 Southern Conference women's basketball triumph over Elon Friday night at Alumni Gym in Elon, N.C.

At the start, the Phoenix (0-5 overall, 0-2 SoCon) broke open a 4-4 tie with a 12-2 surge, exploding to a 16-6 advantage on a bucket by Kitara McMoore with 14:03 to play in the opening period. Elon later claimed its second 11-point lead of the contest at 24-13 on a basket by Shashonna Moore with 10:23 left in the first half.

The Lady Bucs (3-3, 1-0) responded with a 24-2 run to snag an 11-point lead of their own at 37-26 on a jumper by freshman guard Kelly Turman (Atlanta, Ga.) with 3:24 remaining in the stanza. East Tennessee State's run began with 15 consecutive points - the first eight by Banjo - and was ended when Elon's Brianne Gray sank a pair of free throws with 3:02 to play before the break.

"I am very proud of the complete effort of our team, since we had to go deep into our bench because of early foul trouble this evening," commented ETSU head coach Karen Kemp following the win. "We kept our composure when we were down by 11 early, battling back to take a eight-point lead at halftime."

Taking a 39-31 edge into the locker room at the break, the Lady Bucs soon stretched a single-digit advantage into a commanding 69-45 cushion with 8:58 remaining in the contest when freshman guard Michelle Devault's (Columbus, Ohio) three-pointer capped a 30-14 run.

Elon won the battle of the boards 40-34, but could not overcome 29 turnovers to just 14 for ETSU. The Lady Bucs fired 45 percent (30 of 67) from the field while holding the Phoenix to 38 percent (18 of 48).

In addition to Banjo and Mayes, ETSU also received a double-digit scoring performance from junior forward Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.) with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Sophomore guard Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) had early foul trouble but came back with some key plays later in the game with two blocks, two assists and two steals. Freshman guard Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) was the spark off of the bench with eight points, four steals and three assists.

Elon was paced by Moore (12 points), Sarah Goldfarb (11) and McMoore (10).

"I am pleased with opening the conference season with a win over Elon tonight, especially after ending last season with a loss to them in the SoCon Tournament," said Kemp.

The Lady Bucs return to action as they travel to Charlotte for a non-conference contest at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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