UNF stuns Lady Bucs, snaps ETSU's 10-game conference win streak, 80-73
Saturday, January 31, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2009) - All good things must come to an end.


Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) scored a game and season-high 27 points and TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) netted 12 of her 15 points in the second half, but it was not enough, as UNF stunned the Lady Bucs 80-73 Saturday afternoon inside UNF Arena. The loss snapped ETSU's 10-game conference winning streak as well as its six-game run.


With the loss, ETSU dropped to 12-8, 10-2 in the A-Sun and the Lady Bucs had their two-game lead in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings dwindle to one, following Florida Gulf Coast's win over Belmont on Saturday. The Ospreys won their second straight game and improved to 5-16, 4-8, after picking up their first-ever win over the Lady Bucs.


In the first half, ETSU held the edge for the first 15 minutes of the game, but the final five saw UNF take over and carry a 39-35 lead into the locker room.


The opening seven minutes were a battle as the game had one tie and three lead changes, but with the game knotted at 14-all; the Lady Buccaneers used an 8-2 run to establish some breathing room, as ETSU led 22-16 after Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) converted a three-point-play with 9:15 left in the half. From there ETSU's long-range shooting continued to remain hot as Evans and Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) fueled another run by draining back-to-back 3-pointers one minute later. Eventually the Lady Bucs grabbed their largest lead of the half, 35-25, when Belcher laid one in at the 5:19 mark. However, that's when the wheels fell off for ETSU and the Ospreys soared their way back into the contest. UNF held the Lady Bucs scoreless for the remainder of the half and scored 14 unanswered points to take control. 


UNF lit ETSU up for a 56.7 shooting percentage in the first half, as the Ospreys finished 17-for-30 from the floor. Meanwhile, the Lady Bucs were 14-for-32 from the field (43.8 percent), and after hitting five of their first six 3-pointer field goals, ETSU closed out the half going 1-for-5. The Lady Bucs were completely outmatched on the boards - 21 to 11 - but ETSU did force the Ospreys into 14 first-half turnovers and turned those into 13 points on the offensive end. The Lady Bucs also did an outstanding job finding the open shooter and distributing the ball, as ETSU assisted on 13 of its 14 made field goals. Evans led all scorers with 13, while Brittany Kirkland led UNF with 11.


ETSU stormed out of the locker room and quickly regained its lead in the opening two minutes of the second half, thanks to the hot hand of Wiles and Evans. After being held to three points in the first half, Wiles scored the first four points for ETSU and Evans' lay-up at the 18-minute mark put the Lady Bucs back up, 41-39, forcing UNF to call a 30-second timeout.


Again the game became a see-saw battle with there being three ties and eight lead changes over the next 11 minutes; however, UNF established a six-point lead after Arlande Cherizol banked home a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring, putting the Ospreys up, 60-54, with nine minutes remaining in the game.


The Lady Bucs were able to get to within four (60-56), but a 13-5 run gave UNF its largest lead of the game, 73-61, with less than five minutes to play. ETSU never caved and fought back as they pulled it to three, 73-70, but the Lady Bucs couldn't inch any closer and suffered their first conference loss since Dec. 5, 2008 at Mercer.


The Lady Bucs finished with a 37.8 shooting clip (28-74), while UNF shot a blistering 56.0 percent (28-50), marking the first time all season an opponent has reached the 50-percent plateau. After starting off on fire from three-point land, ETSU cooled off drastically and finished 7-of-21 from beyond the arc (33.3 percent). The Lady Bucs nailed five of their first six treys, but finished a dismal 2-of-15. UNF was 6-for-9 from downtown and the Ospreys outrebounded the Lady Bucs, 41-34. ETSU did finish with a season-high 21 steals, and posted 17 assists on 28 made field goals.


To go with Evans' 27 points, the Griffin, Ga. native also tallied her 10th double-double of the season - finishing with 10 rebounds and three steals in 39 minutes of work. Belcher also put in a solid effort as she ended with 12 points, nine rebounds, six steals and two assists. Davis posted a career high nine assists and five steals in 33 minutes.


All five UNF starters scored in double figures and the Ospreys were led by Kirkland's 18 points.   


ETSU returns home for a two-game homestand beginning Thursday night when the Lady Bucs face Stetson. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center.


For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.