BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (March 22, 2009) - The Iowa State Cyclones are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country and the Lady Bucs got an up-close and personal look at them on Sunday night.
Iowa State drained 16 treys and Alison Lacey netted a game-high 18 points, as the Cyclones stormed past ETSU 85-53 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament inside E.A. Diddle Arena. The 16 three-pointers also tied a NCAA Tournament record - matching Harvard's mark back on March 15, 1996.
With the loss, the Lady Bucs saw their season come to an end and ETSU finished with an overall record of 20-11. The 20-win campaign marked the third straight season the Lady Bucs reached the plateau. Iowa State - who lived to see another day - improved to 25-8.
Junior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) led the Lady Bucs scoring a team-high 16 points and fellow junior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) pitched in with eight points and six rebounds. With their scoring efforts, Wiles and Evans both reached the 500-point plateau this season, marking the first time a Lady Buccaneer duo accomplished this feat since current assistant DeShawne Blocker and 1,000-point scorer Amy Engle did so during the 1994-95 season. Junior Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) ended with 11 points, four rebounds and two steals. Belcher's two steals gave her 91 total on the season, which broke Nicole Hopson's single-season ETSU record set during the 1990-91 campaign.
"First off I want to congratulate Iowa State and we wish them much luck throughout the tournament," commented head coach Karen Kemp, who has coached the Lady Bucs to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. "I was really disappointed in our defensive effort tonight. We knew Iowa State was a great three-point shooting team and we did not get out and defend the way we should have."
The Lady Bucs took an early 2-0 lead thanks to Belcher's lay in nine seconds into the contest, but back-to-back treys by Iowa State put the Cyclones ahead for good at the first media timeout (15:27). Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) ended a five minute and thirty-second ETSU scoring drought by sinking a three of her own, but again the Cyclones heated up from beyond the arc and grabbed a 17-5 lead, forcing the Lady Bucs to call a 30-second timeout at the 12:56 mark.
The 3-point shot continued to dismantle the Lady Bucs, as Iowa State nailed three consecutive treys from the 7:16 mark to 5:52 left in the half and the Cyclones saw their lead balloon to 20, 35-15.
Iowa State eventually grabbed its largest lead of the half when Ashley Aren's jumper with 4:42 left on clock put the Cyclones ahead, 39-15.
ETSU never had an answer for the blitz and Iowa State went into the break with a 22-point advantage, 47-25.
The Lady Bucs couldn't get anything going offensively in the first 20 minutes and shot 28.6 percent (10-35), while Iowa State heated up the Arena with a 50-percent clip (16-32). In addition, the Cyclones drained 10 of their 20 3-point shot attempts and Lacey led the way with four treys. Wiles led the Lady Bucs with 10 first-half points and Lacey paced Iowa State with 12.
The Cyclones gave the Lady Bucs their final knock-out punch in the opening four minutes of the second half by posting a 10-2 run to grab a 57-27 lead.
Over the next six minutes ETSU showed some fight and used its pressure defense to cause Iowa State to turn the ball over five times and the Lady Bucs capitalized on those miscues. Eventually the Lady Bucs chipped the deficit to 19, 62-43, when Evans converted a three-point play at the 10:42 mark.
However, Iowa State continued to make it rain from three and the Cyclones managed to cruise their way to a 32-point victory.
For the contest, the Lady Bucs shot 30.8 percent from the floor and only connected on five of their 20 3-point field goal attempts. On the other hand, Iowa State shot 48.3 percent and its 16 3-point field goals equaled the NCAA Tournament record for threes made. ETSU was also out-rebounded 44 to 36 and 13 of the 14 Cyclone players who saw action reached the scoring column.
Four other Iowa State players joined Lacey in double figure scoring, as Kelsey Bolte finished with 12, Heather Ezell netted 11 and both Amanda Nisleit and Nicky Wieben pitched in with 10 apiece.
The bright side for the Lady Bucs is they return all five starters and ETSU will look to return back to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season in 2009-10.
"I am proud of what this team did accomplish this year and the beauty is that we don't have any seniors," added Kemp. "So, we will be back."
Iowa State will now face the winner of Tennessee/Ball State on Tuesday night at 9:30 Eastern (8:30 Central).
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.