Lady Buccaneer rally falls short; Gulf Coast snaps ETSU's eight-game A-Sun win streak
Monday, February 11, 2008

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2008) - Despite making six more field goals and out-rebounding Florida Gulf Coast, 42-33, the ETSU women's basketball team still could not beat the Eagles as the Lady Bucs saw their program-record eight-game conference win streak snapped Monday night inside Alico Arena, 71-66.


With the loss, ETSU fell to 13-11, 9-2 in the A-Sun play, while Florida Gulf Coast pushed its winning streak to nine and improved to 14-7, 9-2. With Jacksonville's loss at Belmont (81-74) there now becomes a three-way tie for first in the conference standings at 9-2.


Sophomore's TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) and Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) led the Lady Buccaneers in scoring. Wiles pitched in with a team-high 14 points and Evans netted 12. However, it was the strong attack of four Florida Gulf Coast starters that led the Eagles to their eighth straight home victory. Four of the five FGCU starters scored double figures and were led by Ashley Haegele's 18-point effort.


Everything that could possibly go wrong during the opening eight minutes of the first half did for the Lady Buccaneers. Within four minutes of the game, Florida Gulf Coast jumped out to a 13-2 lead as the Eagles hit their first five shots, compared to ETSU going 1-for-7.  Things continued to get worse for ETSU as FGCU could not miss from any distance. After the Lady Bucs cut the deficit to 10, 17-7, the Eagles pushed their lead back to 16, 23-7, when Amanda Pierce nailed the team's third trey with 11:58 left in the half. However, the Lady Bucs finally found their rhythm and closed out the half on a 23-9 run; clipping the Eagles' lead to two, 32-30. Wiles fueled the blitz, scoring eight of her 10 first half points during the stretch. ETSU's defense also held FGCU without a field goal for the final three minutes and twenty seconds.


For the half, ETSU was 14-for-31 (45.2 percent), compared to 12-of-31 (38.7 percent) by the Eagles. The difference in the first frame was three-point and free throw shooting. FGCU held the Lady Bucs without a trey, while the Eagles were 3-of-9. In addition, ETSU finished a frigid 28.6 percent (2-7) from the charity stripe and FGCU hit an 83.3 clip (5-6). Wiles led all scorers with 10 at the half, and Chelsea Dermyer added seven for the Eagles.


Both teams opened the second half on fire as ETSU hit its first three shots and FGCU was 3-for-6; however, the Eagles led, 39-36, when Dermyer hit a three with 16:43 left in the contest. Florida Gulf Coast extended its lead back to double digits on McNalley's two free throws, but ETSU answered and tied the game at 50 with a 12-2 run. From there, the rest of the contest was a battle.


After ETSU fought hard to tie the game at 50 with eight and half to play the Eagles pushed their lead to nine, 63-54, at the 3:20 mark, but the Lady Bucs would not go away. ETSU mounted a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to two, 68-66, with 11 seconds left in the game. Then, the Eagles' Adrianne McNally hit one of two free throws, giving the Lady Buccaneers one last chance to tie the game. But Evans' clean look at a three hit off the left side of the rim, ending any hopes of an ETSU victory. 


Missed free throws and three-pointers crushed ETSU Monday night. The Lady Bucs saw their streak of 101 straight games with a trey come to an end (0-9), and shot a season-low 42.9 percent (6-14) from the charity stripe. ETSU hit 30 of its 60 shots, but eight of Gulf Coast's 24 made field goals came from behind the arc and ended up being a difference maker. For the game, the Eagles shot 42.1 percent (24-57) from the floor and 47.1 from three (8-17). 


ETSU will return home and close out the 2007-08 home portion of its schedule next weekend. The Lady Bucs kick things off Saturday with Lipscomb. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside Memorial Center. Saturday's contest will mark the Lady Buccaneers' WBCA "Think Pink" game, as they will create awareness for Breast Cancer through several marketing promotions.


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