Lady Bucs' run for second straight A-Sun Tournament title begins with Mercer on Friday
Thursday, March 5, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 5, 2009) - Should the Lady Bucs repeat as Atlantic Sun Tournament champions, ETSU will have to do something they haven't done all season - beat Mercer.


After earning the top seed and receiving a bye to the semifinals, the Lady Bucs will finally hit the hardwood and defend their crown on Friday afternoon against the Bears. Tip time is set for noon (1 p.m. eastern) inside Lipscomb's Allen Arena.


ETSU (18-10) swept seven conference foes this season; however, Mercer dealt the Lady Bucs a pair of losses - marking the first time since joining the league the Bears have been able to accomplish the feat.


The Lady Bucs enter the General Shale Brick A-Sun Championships having won their last seven games in the Music City, including last season's conference tournament. ETSU is now looking to become the first team since Georgia State (2001-03) to repeat as A-Sun tournament champs.


Mercer (17-13) earned its way into Friday's first semifinal game after knocking off Stetson, 84-51, on Thursday afternoon. As a team, the Bears shot 57.1 percent from the field and assisted on 20 of their 36 made field goals. Four Mercer players scored in double figures, with Kourtney Carter leading the way (16 points on 8-of-8 shooting).


Both Mercer and ETSU should know each other quite well, as these teams faced off last Saturday inside Memorial Center. The Bears' 2-3 zone defense affected ETSU on offense, and Mercer ruined the Lady Bucs' chances to earn a share of the conference crown. Mercer also handed the Lady Bucs a 77-61 loss back on Dec. 5 in Macon.


ETSU and Mercer have also faced off twice in A-Sun tournament play. The Lady Bucs knocked off Mercer, 83-62, in the quarterfinals of the 2008 conference tournament, and the Bears defeated ETSU in overtime, 59-56, in the quarterfinals on the 2006 tournament in Dothan, Ala.


Last season Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) strung together three dominate performances in the conference tournament - averaging 19.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 5.3spg - en route to being named 2008 Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP. This season Belcher's hard work also paid off, as she was selected 2009 Defensive Player of the Year and Second Team All-Conference. Joining Belcher with postseason honors were Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) - Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference, TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) - First Team All-Conference and Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) - All-Freshman Team.


Friday's semifinal contest will be aired live on CSS as well as on ASun.TV. Live stats will also be available by clicking the link above.


The winner of Friday's ETSU/Mercer matchup will face either Jacksonville or the winner of third-seeded Belmont and sixth-seeded Campbell in Saturday's championship game.


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