Second half surge soars Lady Bucs past Wingate, 89-61
Sunday, November 4, 2007

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 4, 2007) - Four Lady Buccaneer players scored double figures and the ETSU women's basketball team outscored Wingate, 46-27, in the second half, lifting them to an 89-61 victory over the Bulldogs Sunday afternoon from Memorial Center.


Sophomore sensation TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) gave the Buccaneer faithful an early preview of what she is made of Sunday. Wiles finished with a game-high 21 points (9-of-16 from the field), along with six rebounds, four assists, four steals, and two blocks. Joining Wiles in double figures were sophomore's Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) as well as freshman Brittany Daniels (Shellman, Ga.). Evans finished with a double-double, compiling 13 points and a game-best 14 rebounds; while Belcher chipped in with 12 and Daniels netted 11.


"TaRonda suffered a serious injury which sidelined her during most of the conference season last year, but I always thought if she stays healthy she is capable of being one of the best players in the Atlantic Sun," added ETSU women's head coach Karen Kemp, who looks to guide her team to its third consecutive winning season in 2007-08. "She really showed everyone today what she is capable of doing and hopefully we will see more of it once the season begins."


ETSU's stifling defense and gritty attitude was the main factor in Sunday's victory, as the Lady Buccaneers forced 38 Bulldog turnovers, leading to 35 points on the other end. In all, ETSU out-rebounded Wingate, 53-47, forced 23 steals, and held the Bulldogs to only seven second half field goals in its final test before next Friday's regular season opener against Western Kentucky in the Preseason WNIT.


"We got off to a sloppy start, but that is the reason we play these exhibition games; so we can get the jitters out before the regular season," added Kemp. "We came out with a lot more intensity in the second half, which helped us come away with the victory."


The Lady Bucs struggled early on as they missed nine of their first 10 shots to begin the game, but ETSU never gave up and took a nine-point advantage into the locker room, leading 43-34.


Wingate outshot ETSU, 41.4 percent (12-of-29) to 39.0 percent (16-of-41), during the first 20 minutes of action. However, the Bucs reeked havoc on the defensive end, forcing 19 turnovers and converting those to 22 points. ETSU also did an excellent job around the glass, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds compared to only six by the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs hung around for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but with 10:04 remaining the Lady Buccaneers turned their game up another gear. ETSU closed out the final 10-plus minutes on 32-13 run, leading them to the 28-point victory.

The Lady Bucs shot 40.2 percent (35-of-87) for the ballgame, compared to a frigid 31.7 percent (19-of-60) for Wingate. ETSU also doubled the Bulldogs in the paint, 44-22, and held Wingate to only one three-point field goal for the entire 40 minutes.


"The ball was not dropping for us early, but I am very happy with how the team never gave up and kept with it," added Kemp.


ETSU will now prepare for its regular season opener, as they head to Bowling Green, Ky. to face the Lady Toppers of Western Kentucky in the first round of the Preseason WNIT on Friday, Nov. 9. Tip is set for 7 p.m. ET inside E.A. Diddle Arena.