POST 'EM UP: Belcher's career-high 20 points lifts ETSU to victory over Stetson, 73-62
Saturday, February 9, 2008

DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2008) - Sophomore post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds as the ETSU Lady Buccaneers went on to defeat Stetson, 73-62, Saturday afternoon inside the Edmunds Center. In total, the Lady Buccaneer post players scored 57 points, guiding ETSU to its school record eighth straight conference victory.  


With the win, the Lady Bucs extended their overall win streak to a season-high seven games (lone loss at Appalachian State) and improved to 13-10, 9-1 in A-Sun play; while Stetson fell to 4-19, 2-8. The Lady Bucs now hold a half game lead over Jacksonville (who is in action this evening at Lipscomb) for first place in the conference standings.


The other ETSU post players that contributed to the charge were seniors Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio). Norman made a career-best 10 field goals and finished a point shy of tying her career mark by netting 20 in 21 minutes. DeVault passed Angie Fickes (1997-2000) for 11th all-time on the Lady Buccaneer scoring list. The Columbus, Ohio native added 17 points, giving her 1,110 total points for her career.


The Lady Buccaneer post players carried the way for ETSU in the first half as they combined for 35 of the 46 points. Belcher was on fire as she netted 14 points in the first 20 minutes, which was one point shy of tying her career mark. She opened the game scoring six of the first 12 ETSU points as the Lady Bucs started 5-of-5 from the field. Unfortunately, the Lady Bucs cooled off and Stetson gained its first and only lead of the game (14-12) by posting an 8-0 run; however, the Lady Buccaneers responded with eight unanswered to pull back ahead, 20-14, with 12:30 on the clock. Then, with the score tied at 24, ETSU closed out the final eight and half minutes on a 22-7 blitz to carry a 15-point advantage into the locker room, 46-31.


As a team, the Lady Bucs shot a scorching 54.8 percent (17-31) from the field, compared to Stetson's 40 percent shooting clip (12-30). Along with Belcher's stellar effort, DeVault added 13 and Norman chipped in with eight. The trio of post players combined to go 12-of-19 during the first stanza. ETSU also got things done at the free throw line, going 88.9 percent (8-for-9) and held a 20-15 rebound advantage. The duo of TaRonda Wiles (Danville) and (Latisha) Belcher each grabbed five for the Lady Bucs.


ETSU's post players continued to dominate in the second half as they tallied the first eight points for the Lady Bucs, giving them a 54-38 lead with 15:51 left in the contest. From there, Stetson posted a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 10, 54-44, but ETSU held the Hatters scoreless for the next six-plus minutes and saw its lead balloon to 19, 63-44. However, Stetson made things exciting down the stretch as Ashli Jackson caught fire from beyond the arc. During a 1:45 stretch, Jackson nailed four treys and helped inch Stetson to within nine, 71-62, with 2:41 remaining. Fortunately, for the Lady Bucs it was too little too late for Stetson, and ETSU walked away with the conference victory. 


For the game, ETSU shot 45 percent (27-60) and Stetson finished 39.3 percent from the floor (24-61). Once again the Lady Bucs did an excellent job distributing the rock as freshman guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) dished out seven of ETSU's 21 assists. The seven assists tied Davis' career high. The Lady Buccaneer defense forced the Hatters to cough the ball up 27 times, and turned the miscues into 33 points. ETSU finished 15-of-17 from the free throw line. DeVault (6-of-6), Belcher (6-of-7) and Kami Phillips (Augusta, Ga.) 3-for-4 were the only three Lady Buc players to head to the charity stripe on Saturday.   


The Lady Bucs will complete the final leg of this Florida swing on Monday night when ETSU travels to Fort Myers. ETSU will tangle with conference newcomer at 7 p.m. inside Alico Arena.