Lady Bucs set up critical A-Sun showdown with 57-39 victory over UNF
Friday, January 25, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2008) - Four Lady Buccaneer players scored in double figures and the ETSU women's basketball team defeated North Florida in a defensive battle, 57-39, Friday night inside Memorial Center. The Lady Buccaneers are now a perfect 5-0 lifetime against the Ospreys and ETSU has made it seven straight wins against teams from the Sunshine state on its home floor.


With the victory, the Lady Bucs have strung together three straight wins for the first time this season, and pushed its record to 9-10, 5-1 in the Atlantic Sun; while North Florida fell to 8-10, 3-3. However, ETSU will now have a shot to move into a tie for first-place in the conference standings as they hit the road for an eight hour bus ride to Jacksonville Saturday afternoon. The Dolphins moved their conference mark to 6-0 after receiving a scare from USC Upstate, 66-65, Friday evening in Spartanburg. ETSU and Jacksonville will face off Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. inside Swisher Gymnasium.


Sophomore TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) scored a game-high 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the Lady Bucs. Sophomore's Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) along with senior Kelly Turman (Atlanta) each chipped in 10. Senior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) was held scoreless for the first time since Dec. 21, 2005 (at Appalachian State), but managed to grab a season-high 10 rebounds. Shennette Sheffield and Brittany Jones led the way for the Ospreys as they each scored 10 points apiece.


In game where both offenses struggled, ETSU still managed to walk away with an 18-point victory as the Lady Bucs allowed a season-low 39 points. That total marked the lowest since Mercer netted 29 back on November 30, 2006 in Macon.


Both teams struggled from the outside, combining to go 3-for-39 (10.3 percent) from beyond the arc, but ETSU managed to make five more field goals and five extra free throws in the first half, which made all the difference in the contest. The Lady Buccaneers outscored UNF by 15, 30-15, in the first frame; giving ETSU a cushion to play on in the second stanza.


The Lady Bucs controlled the entire first half thanks to opening up with an 11-2 start. Wiles gave ETSU an early lift, scoring seven of the first 11 points for the Lady Buccaneers. From there, UNF would trim the lead to seven, 13-6, but that is as close as the Ospreys would come for the remainder of the game. A Turman jumper with 8:29 left on the clock put ETSU up by 11, 17-6, and ETSU would not let UNF inch back into single digits for the ballgame. Jenny Norman's (Peachtree City, Ga.) lay-up with thirty-nine seconds left in the half gave the Lady Buccaneers a 15-point advantage which they would carry into the locker room.


ETSU's defense held UNF to only seven field goals (28 missed) in the first 20 minutes (25 percent); while the Lady Bucs were a little better at 31.6 percent (12-38). Both teams were ice cold from three-point land (0-15), but ETSU held a 29-20 rebounding advantage, with 18 coming on the offensive end. The Lady Buccaneer bench outscored North Florida, 12-4.


The Lady Bucs scored the first four points to start the second frame, extending their lead to 19, 34-15, with 17:37 remaining in the contest. UNF would lower the margin to 14 on three separate occasions, but finally ran out of gas with 10 minutes left in the game. ETSU took full advantage of the tank being on empty by pushing its lead to 20, 49-29, when freshman point guard Kami Phillips (Augusta, Ga.) connected on a free throw at the 5:12 mark; eventually letting the Lady Bucs come away with their third consecutive conference victory.


UNF, the best defensive club in the conference, held ETSU to a 33.8 shooting percentage (23-68), but the Lady Bucs' defense stepped their game up a notch by limiting the Ospreys to a 26.3 percent clip from the floor (15-57). Both clubs put on a rebounding clinic as they combined for 92 boards, but more impressively were the 49 total offensive rebounds in the contest.


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