JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2009) - TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) and Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) enjoyed a shooting spree Thursday night, as the junior tandem helped pace the Lady Bucs to their largest win of the season, 87-57, over Campbell inside Memorial Center.
Wiles, who just posted a career high 31 points last Thursday night against Belmont, came out on fire and finished with a game-high 30 points. The Danville, Va. native also grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists in 27 minutes of work. Meanwhile, Evans made useful work of her 22 minutes, as she ended with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The victory kept ETSU in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings, as the Lady Bucs moved their mark to 10-7, 8-1 in A-Sun play. In addition, the Lady Bucs posted their eighth straight conference victory and 11th consecutive home A-Sun win. Campbell fell for the fifth time in its last six contests and dropped to 9-9, 2-7.
Despite outrebounding Campbell (48-42) and forcing the Lady Camels into 28 turnovers - which were converted into 28 points on the offensive end - head coach Karen Kemp still wanted to see more work on defense.
"I am a little disappointed defensively, as Campbell shot almost 40 percent," commented Kemp, who is now 7-0 lifetime against Campbell. "Yes, we forced 28 turnovers, but I am still not pleased with our defensive effort - especially in the last 10 minutes - because I thought we gave up a lot of easy baskets towards the end."
ETSU controlled the tempo for nearly all 20 minutes of the first half, as the Lady Bucs raced out to a 15-4 advantage four and half minutes into the game. Over the next three-plus minutes, the Lady Bucs quickly pushed their margin up to 14, 24-10, when Evans connected on her third 3-pointer of the game. The long range shot was ETSU's friend in the opening seven and half minutes, as they were 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. ETSU would eventually see its lead soar to 18 points (35-17), when Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) found Shannon White (Kansas City, Kan.) open for an easy lay-up at the 7:04 mark. Campbell responded with a 6-0 run over the next three minutes to cut its deficit to 12, 35-23, but the Lady Camels couldn't inch any closer as the Lady Bucs took a 42-28 lead into the break.
The Lady Bucs did an excellent job finding the open shooter, as ETSU assisted on 11 of its 16 made field goals during the first stanza. ETSU shot 40 percent from the floor (16-40), compared to Campbell's 38.7 clip (12-31). Pressure defense gave the Lady Camels fits and ETSU capitalized on the 14 forced turnovers - converting them into 12 points on the offensive end. Wiles led all scorers at the half with 14, while Evans contributed with 13.
Campbell hung around early in the second half, as ETSU couldn't manage to push its lead past the 13-point margin, until the Lady Bucs mounted a 20-5 run from the 13:33 mark to six minutes left in the contest. Evans started the blitz by sinking a pair of free throws after she was fouled by Jessica Mack, and again, two freebies by Natasha Dixon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) gave the Lady Bucs a 76-48 lead with six minutes left on the clock. The run was too much for Campbell to handle and the Lady Bucs cruised to their third straight victory.
For the game, ETSU drained 30 field goals and knocked down a season-high 10 3-pointers. Both Evans (4-6) and Wiles (3-6) tied their career highs for threes made; while (Tara) Davis had seven of ETSU's 19 assists, which tied her career best.Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) and White helped the Lady Bucs outrebound the Lady Camels by six, 48-42.
Belcher finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and three steals, where as, White displayed her best game in a Lady Buc uniform. The Kansas City, Kan. native finished with career highs in points (8), rebounds (10), and field goals made (3). In addition, for the first time all season, every ETSU player who dressed reached the scoring column.
Wiles also tied a career best with 13 made field goals and has now scored 82 points in her last four games (20.5 points per game).
"I have been trying to tell TaRonda since the first day she stepped on this campus that she could be one of the best players to play for ETSU," said Kemp. "She has that confidence now and is shooting the ball well. It's very fun to watch."
The Lady Bucs wrap up their four-game homestand on Monday evening when they host USC Upstate. Tip is set for 4 p.m. inside Memorial Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.