JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2009) - The ETSU women's basketball team hit USC Upstate with an 18-0 run midway throughout the first half and that proved to be the difference maker, as the Lady Bucs hung on to win their ninth straight conference victory, 80-68, Monday evening inside Memorial Center.
ETSU (11-7, 9-1) has now won its last four games and moved its home conference winning streak to 12 in row. More importantly, the Lady Bucs' two-game lead for first place in the league standings remained intact. With the loss, Upstate dropped to 9-9, 4-6.
The Lady Bucs were led by the three-headed monster of Siarre Evans (
"I wasn't pleased with our effort tonight and thought we played flat," commented head coach Karen Kemp, who tallied her 51st Atlantic Sun Conference win. "An ugly win is better than a pretty loss, but we need to start playing 40 minutes of basketball against every opponent we face from this point forward."
After getting off to sluggish start in the opening six minutes of the first half, coach Kemp burned a 30-second timeout, and from that point the Lady Bucs came out with a bang. With USC Upstate leading 9-8 at the 13:19 mark, ETSU held the Spartans scoreless for the next five-plus minutes and scored 18 unanswered points to grab a 26-9 lead after Tara Davis (
In the first half, ETSU made 12 more shots than the Spartans (19 to 7) and five more 3-pointers (6 to 1). The Lady Bucs shot 43.2 percent (19-44), compared to Upstate's frigid 23.3 percent (7-30). ETSU also held a plus-12 margin on the glass - 32 to 20 - with Evans recording seven of her 13 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
ETSU looked to run the Spartans out of the Dome in the opening six minutes of the second half, as the Lady Bucs saw their lead balloon to 28, 60-32, after Evans nailed a jumper with 12:59 left in the game. However, Upstate never folded and slowly chipped away over the next seven and half minutes. The Spartans used a 27-9 spurt to cut the margin to 10 (69-59) with 5:15 left on the clock.
Upstate continued to plug away and got to within nine on two separate possessions, but ETSU closed out the final minutes on a 6-1 run to walk away with the 12-point win.
For the game ETSU shot 44.4 percent and tied a season high with 32 made field goals. Upstate was limited to a 31.3 clip (21-67), but did a lot of its damage at the free throw line. The Spartans were 21-of-26 at the charity stripe, compared to the Lady Bucs' 9-for-14 showing. ETSU did do a solid job distributing the basketball and finding the open shooter as they finished with 19 assists.
With Evans' 20 points and 13 rebounds, the
USC Upstate had four players score in double figures and was led by Kendra Wallace's 19 points.
The Lady Bucs now head down to
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