Lady Bucs step up defense, smother Campbell, 73-63
B.J. Banjo led all scorers with 21 points in Thursday's win.
B.J. Banjo led all scorers with 21 points in Thursday's win.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 19, 2006) - Sophomore Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) led a stellar ETSU defensive effort on Thursday, tying a school record with nine steals, as the Lady Bucs topped Campbell, 73-63, in Brooks Gym.  The conference-leading Lady Bucs improve to 11-4 overall, 7-1 in the Atlantic Sun, while Campbell falls to 6-10, 5-3 in league play.

           

The Lady Bucs took advantage of 33 Campbell turnovers, snatching 21 steals on the night, just two steals away from the school record.  Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) managed a season-best four takeaways, while Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) added three. 

 

Akers' record performance ties former Lady Buc Kiya Verdell, who nabbed nine steals against Appalachian State in 2003.

           

ETSU also got it going on offense with four players in double figures, led by senior B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) with a game-high 21.  Akers matched a career-high with 16, followed by DeVault with 13, and Kelly Turman (Atlanta, Ga.) with 12.

           

Costly turnovers put a damper on an otherwise hot shooting night for the Camels, who shot 50.9 from the field.  Marlena Murphy led a balanced Campbell attack with 14 points, to go along with a game-high nine boards. 

           

Tomika Tomlinson, Letitia Dickson, and Adrienne Rieley also scored in double figures with Tomlinson netting 13, and Dickson and Rieley posting 12 apiece.  All 13 of Tomlinson's points came in the second half.

           

The Lady Camels shot out to an early five-point lead, when a Rieley bucket gave Campbell the 12-7 advantage with 13:13 to go in the first.  A pair of baskets from Banjo and another by Turman would give the Lady Bucs to 13-12 lead two minutes later.  ETSU wouldn't look back, holding the advantage for the rest of the contest.

           

With the score knotted at 20 with 6:21 to go, ETSU took control, ending the period on a 15-6 run, including a 12-0 surge to go up 32-20 with 3:41 remaining.  The Lady Bucs took full advantage of Campbell's turnover woes, netting 20 points off turnovers for the half, and 37 on the night. 

           

ETSU, which made only four turnovers in the half, led 35-26 going into the locker room.  The Lady Bucs totaled 14 turnovers for the game, their third-best performance of the season.

           

Campbell pulled within seven, at 41-34, with 15:26 left in the second frame behind a layup from Dickson.  ETSU would respond to the challenge, mounting a 15-4 run from there to extend the lead to 18, 56-38, by the 11:43 mark.  Banjo tallied five points during the run, while Wilhoit added a pair of buckets.  Campbell was unable to get within single digits for the rest of the night.

           

The Fighting Camels would make a surge near the end of regulation, out-scoring ETSU 11-3 in the game's final two minutes, including a buzzer-beating three by Tomlinson to end the game at 73-63.  The final 10-point margin was the closest Campbell had gotten in nearly 15 minutes.

           

The Lady Bucs continue A-Sun action on Saturday, as Gardner-Webb invades Brooks Gym.  Game time is set for 2 p.m.

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