Evans reaches 1,000-point club, as Lady Bucs survive see-saw battle over Stetson, 53-52
Saturday, January 10, 2009

DeLAND, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2009) - It was the slimmest of margins, but the ETSU women's basketball team was still able to hang on.


In a classic nip-and-tuck contest, where both teams combined for five ties and nine lead changes, the ETSU Lady Buccaneers pulled off a 53-52 victory over Stetson Saturday night inside the Edmunds Center.


For the second straight game Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) led the Lady Bucs in scoring - finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals; while Siarre Evans notched her 22nd career double-double (13 points and 14 rebounds). Evans' 13-point performance also lifted her over the 1,000-point plateau, as she became the 16th Lady Buccaneer player to reach the special milestone. Evans now has 1,002 points in her illustrious career.


The victory marked ETSU's fourth straight win and the Lady Bucs improved to 7-6, 5-1 in the A-Sun. ETSU is now over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season. The one-point win was ETSU's first by that margin since knocking off Appalachian State 65-64 on Jan. 17, 2004. Stetson dropped its second straight game, and fell to 6-9, 3-2.


In the first half, both teams struggled with its shooting as both clubs combined to go 6-for-33 in the opening eight minutes, and Stetson led 8-6 at the 11:49 mark. Evans scored the first six ETSU points, making two lay-ups and hitting a pair of free throws.


After falling behind 12-6 and going six-plus minutes without making a field goal, Tara Davis' (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) bank off the glass snapped the drought and gave the Lady Bucs a little momentum. ETSU eventually pulled even with the Hatters, when TaRonda Wiles' (Danville, Va.) jumper tied it at 16-all, but back-to-back threes by Ashli Jackson and a Jessica Conner lay-up gave Stetson a little breathing room as they led, 24-18, with 4:04 remaining in the half.


ETSU was held to only one field goal in the final three and half minutes, and Stetson took a 28-20 advantage into the locker room.


The Lady Bucs were held to a season-low 20 points in the first half and shot a dismal 22.9 percent (8-35). Stetson connected on 12 of its first 34 shot attempts (35.3 percent) and the Hatters held a slight rebounding advantage, 27-25. Neither team was making it rain from three, as the teams combined to go 2-for-18 - including ETSU's 0-for-9 clip. Evans and Conner led their teams with eight points apiece.  


ETSU wasted little time cutting its eight-point halftime deficit to one, 31-30, as they roared out of the break on a 10-3 run - forcing Stetson to call a timeout with 16:38 left in the contest.


The Lady Bucs finally took their first lead of the night when Evans laid one in at the 13:38 mark, putting ETSU up 34-33.


From there the game became a see-saw battle, as the teams combined to have the nine lead changes and five ties from the 13:38 minute mark to 3:11 left in the contest, but following Belcher's lay-in at that juncture the Lady Bucs led 50-49 and never trailed from then on. From there, the Lady Bucs rattled off three more points, which in the end, proved to be the difference maker.


Both teams shot poorly with ETSU finishing 32.4 percent (23-71) and Stetson going 32.8 percent (21-64). The Lady Bucs were held without a three-pointer for the second time this season, as they finished 0-for-13. The only highlight on the night for ETSU was its 16 to 8 assist/turnover ratio.


Once again Wiles had a solid second half by scoring 10 of her 14 points in the final 20 minutes. Davis scored eight points and dished out five assists in 35 minutes off the bench.


Stetson was led by Sharnesha Smith's 17 points and Jackson netted 11.   


The Lady Bucs wrap up their three-game road swing on Tuesday night, when ETSU heads to Lynchburg, Va. and takes on Big South favorite Liberty. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. inside the Vines Center.


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