CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (Dec. 15, 2006) - Despite having the lead for over 35 minutes, the ETSU women's basketball team fell to Southeast Missouri State, 73-68, Friday evening in the Show Me Center. The Lady Bucs had their three-game winning streak snapped, and fall to 4-5 on the season, while Southeast Missouri State improved to 4-4.
Down 69-68, ETSU had one final opportunity to pick up its fourth consecutive victory, but freshman Siarre Evans (Grffin, Ga.) was whistled for a carry with eight seconds remaining. Evans was then called for a technical foul, which gave SEMO the chance to ice the game. The Redhawks' Ashley Lovelady connected on four straight free throws in the final eight seconds, giving the host team the victory.
ETSU had four players finish in double figures, as junior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) led the way with 19. Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) ended with a season-high 12 points, and freshmen TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) and Evans each added 10. Senior guard Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) finished the game with eight assists, moving her ahead ex-teammate B.J. Banjo (Maryland) for fifth place on the all-time ETSU assist leaders list with 306. Rachel Blunt who scored 19 of her career-high 21 points in the second half led the Redhawks.
The Lady Bucs looked to have everything under control against the reigning OVC Champions, leading 65-53 with 7:24 remaining, but turnovers and the hot hand of Blunt is what got the Redhawks back into the game. During the stretch, ETSU went five straight possessions where they turned the ball over in a little over a two-minute span, and Blunt capitalized by draining consecutive three-point field goals, cutting the lead to 66-60 with 4:40 to play.
The Redhawks took their first lead in the second half, 67-66, with 2:38 remaining when Sonya Daugherty connected on her second free throw opportunity. Norman would quickly answer, giving ETSU a 68-67 lead with 2:24 to go, but that would be the last time they would lead in the game.
ETSU finished the game 4-7 from the charity stripe, compared to Southeast Missouri State's 17-23 effort.
In the first half, the Lady Bucs opened up to an early 11-5 lead within the first six minutes, and kept control for the rest of the half. DeVault would give ETSU its largest lead of the game, 23-9 when she drained a three-pointer with 11:02 remaining before the break. However, during the next eight minutes the Redhawks would answer with a 13-4 run, cutting the Lady Bucs lead to 27-24. ETSU would buckle down by holding the Redhawks without a bucket for the final 3:35 of the half and took a 34-27 lead into the break.
ETSU opened up on fire, hitting 50 percent (11-22) of its shots during the first 12 minutes of the half. DeVault led all scorers with 11 points at the break, while Ashley Lovelady led the Redhawks with seven. The Lady Bucs shot 46.9 percent (15-32) from the field in the first half, while SEMO shot 41.4 percent (12-29).
A quick turnaround is in store for the Lady Bucs as they get set to prepare for Virginia Tech on Monday night in Blacksburg. Tip is set for 7 p.m., and there will be a live audio stream available by visiting http://etsustream.intellithought.net/.