Lady Bucs race past Lipscomb 89-65 on Senior Day
Saturday, February 16, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2008) - Sophomore post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) scored a game high 19 points and three other ETSU women's basketball players notched 14 apiece as the Lady Bucs dropped Lipscomb 89-65 on Senior Day Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Center.


ETSU bounced back in a big way after having its eight-game conference win streak snapped last Monday at Florida Gulf Coast. The Lady Bucs have now won five straight at home and improve to 14-11, 10-2 in Atlantic Sun play. Lipscomb suffered its fourth consecutive loss and fell to 6-20, 4-8. More importantly for the Lady Bucs, they now control the number one seed in the conference after Kennesaw State defeated Florida Gulf Coast, 55-52. The Lady Bucs hold the tiebreaker over Jacksonville after ETSU snapped the Dolphins' 17-game home win streak last month.  


The three Lady Buccaneer players who pitched in with 14 included senior's Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) and Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) as well as sophomore Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.). Belcher and Evans just missed tallying double-doubles as they combined for 17 rebounds (Belcher had nine). Lipscomb's Jenna Bartsokas and Cree Nix each netted 14.


"I think we played a lot better in the second half as we were able to control the tempo," commented head coach Karen Kemp whose club is eyeing its first A-Sun crown. "I keep stressing to my team that from here on out each game is important, because every time we step on the floor we are playing for a conference championship."


The Lady Bucs jumped out to a quick 9-4 start heading into the first media timeout. Then, ETSU used a 16-5 run to extend its lead to 16, 25-9, when sophomore Devin Thompson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit a jumper with 11:38 left before the break. ETSU would enjoy its largest lead of the half as a Norman free throw put the Lady Buccaneers up 34-16. However, instead hiding the Lady Bisons fought back went on a little run of their own (12-5) to close out the final seven minutes. Lipscomb held ETSU without a field goal for the final 3:19, but the Lady Bucs still lead by 11 as both teams went into the locker room.


In the first half, ETSU shot 37.8 percent (14-37) from the field, compared to Lipscomb's 30.8 clip (8-26). Free throws kept the Lady Bisons intact as they hit 10-of-14, while the Lady Bucs were 9-of-11. ETSU dominated in the paint, doubling up Lipscomb, 20-10, and out-rebounded the visitors from Nashville, 26-20.


Lipscomb carried its momentum over into the second half by cutting the deficit to eight, 41-33, with 18:39 remaining, but ETSU's 19-9 run over the next five-plus ended any chance of a Lady Bison upset. Evans and Belcher took over in the spurt as they combined for 16 of those points and moved the Lady Buccaneer lead to 18, 60-42. From there, the ETSU advantage would hover around the 20-point mark, but Belcher's lay-in with 3:03 left in the contest gave the Lady Bucs their largest lead of the night, 85-57.


Once again ETSU did an outstanding job distributing the basketball as they tied a season high with its 23 assists on 32 made field goals. Freshman point guard Kami Phillips (Augusta, Ga.) was dishing them out like candy, tallying a career-high eight, and 10 of the 12 Lady Buccaneer players each recorded at least one assist. ETSU also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Lady Bisons by nine, 48-39.


The Lady Bucs shot 44.4 percent from the floor (32-72) and held Lipscomb to only 33.9 percent (21-62). After having its streak of 101 games with a three-pointer come to an end at Gulf Coast, ETSU came back to life and nailed five of its seven treys in the second half to finish at 46.7 percent (7-of-15). Kemp's club also picked things back up at the free throw line, hitting 18 of its 22 attempts.


This week marks the WBCA's "Think Pink" marketing campaign. The initiative of this plan is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The Lady Bucs were supporting pink shoelaces, socks, and headbands to help support the cause, while fans were also able to make donations and bid on autographed items from the women's and men's basketball teams. All the proceeds will be used to help fight the deadly disease.  


ETSU will now close out its home portion of the schedule Monday night when they host Belmont. The Lady Bucs look to go for the overall Nashville sweep when the teams tip off at 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center.


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