Lady Bucs look to bounce back and extend A-Sun home win streak to eight Saturday
Friday, January 11, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2008) - After starting the New Year with back-to-back wins, the ETSU women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the '08 portion of the season Tuesday night against Liberty in a non-conference showdown, and now the Lady Buccaneers look to get back on track as they host conference foe Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon. Tip is slated for 1:30 p.m. inside Memorial Center, where ETSU has won its last seven home meetings against conference members.


After dropping a pair of games to the Runnin' Bulldogs in their first season playing in the Atlantic Sun, the Lady Buccaneers were able to return the favor; sweeping GWU by an average of 19.5 points per game last season. ETSU (5-8, 1-0) defeated Gardner-Webb (6-9, 2-0), 81-68, last Jan. 13 in Paul Porter Arena, and then followed that up with a 26-point rout in Johnson City on Feb. 8, 87-61.


Fans unable to attend the game can watch via the live video streaming accessed at ASun.TV or by clicking the link located above. 


Below is a breakdown of Saturday's match-up:

Lady Bucs' Last Time Out

Typically the East Tennessee State women's basketball team is golden when taking a lead into halftime; however, Tuesday night Liberty had different plans in store as they knocked off the Lady Buccaneers, 64-60, in a hard fought non-conference battle inside Memorial Center.


Entering Tuesday night's match-up, the Lady Bucs were a perfect 4-0 when leading at the break this season, and with ETSU holding a 30-29 advantage after the first 20 minutes things looked great for the home team. Unfortunately, Liberty would outscore ETSU, 30-25, in the second half to walk away with a four-point road victory.


Liberty, who currently has an RPI of 35 and is receiving votes in the USA Today ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll, have now won 11 of its last 12 games to move to 13-2 overall. On the other side, ETSU was searching for its first three-game winning streak this season, but fall to 5-8 after its first 13 contests.


Despite being used in limited action with a foot injury, sophomore guard Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) posted her 31st game scoring in double figures as she ended with a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes of action. Senior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio), who started the evening needing to score only 12 points to become the 15th Lady Buc player of all-time to reach the 1,000-point plateau, was held to only two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Liberty was led by Megan Frazee's double-double performance, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds.


About Gardner-Webb

The Gardner-Webb women's basketball team is one of the youngest teams in the NCAA this season, boasting just one senior on the roster. The squad is still learning to play together, but as redshirt-sophomores Jessica Bryant and Laura Povilonyte return to form after missing last season, the Bulldogs will once again vie for the coveted A-Sun title.


GWU nearly pulled off the conference's first-ever victory over a BIG EAST team and has put together solid offensive games thus far on the season. Sophomore Margaret Roundtree leads the team in scoring (13.6), and rookie Monique Hudson follows right behind with 12.5 points per game. Roundtree is also leading the team in rebounding at 8.1 boards per contest.


The Runnin' Bulldogs open conference play with a perfect 2-0 start, and have won four straight games entering Saturday's match-up. GWU beat Lipscomb (82-70) and Belmont (75-62) to notch them in a tie for first atop the league standings. During the winning stretch the Runnin' Bulldogs have also defeated UNC Asheville (82-70) and High Point (75-62).


As a team, GWU is leading the A-Sun with a 41-percent shooting clip and average 67.4 points per game. The Runnin' Bulldogs are still searching for their first road win of the season as they stand 0-4 on the road and 0-2 at neutral sites. GWU's last win away from Boiling Springs was on March 8, 2007, when they defeated Campbell in the A-Sun quarterfinals.


The Series

This afternoon marks the fifth meeting between the two programs with both teams taking two games in the short-lived series. Gardner-Webb swept the Lady Bucs during the 2005-06 season; however, ETSU paid back the favor by knocking off the Runnin' Bulldogs twice a year ago (by an average of 19.5 points). The Lady Bucs downed GWU by 13, 81-68, in Boiling Springs, then beat them inside Memorial Center by 26, 87-61.


Home Sweet Home

The Lady Bucs have enjoyed the home court advantage. Since the start of the 2005-06 season, ETSU has won 23 of its 30 (.767) games played in Johnson City. Also, the Lady Bucs have won 17 of their last 20 home conference games, including a current seven-game home winning streak against A-Sun schools. The last time ETSU lost a conference home game was over a year ago when Belmont defeated the Lady Bucs, 78-69, on Jan. 6, 2007. 


Lady Bucs Havin' Fun in the A-Sun

Prior to the season, ETSU was picked to finish first in the conference according to the media and second by the coaches. The Lady Bucs start their third season in the league after posting stellar starts the previous two years. During the last two seasons, ETSU has tallied 28 regular season conference wins and the Lady Bucs have the highest winning percentage among conference foes both all-time and in conference play. ETSU is currently 41-15 (.732) all-time against current A-Sun members and 30-12 (.714) in league play (including the conference tournament). The Lady Bucs have perfect 4-0 marks against Campbell, Kennesaw State, and North Florida all-time as well as against Stetson in league play only.


Akers/DeVault Eyeing 100

Senior's Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) and Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) are eyeing their 100th game played in a Lady Buccaneer uniform. Today will mark Akers' 100th career game played at ETSU; while DeVault is two games away of 100 (98 total). 


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