Wiles' career night overshadowed after Lady Bucs squander 15-point second half lead to Chattanooga, 77-71
Monday, November 17, 2008

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov. 17, 2008) - Junior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) poured in a career-high 27 points but it was overshadowed after ETSU squandered a 15-point second half lead, and Chattanooga went on to win its home-opener, 77-71, Monday night inside McKenzie Arena.


For the second straight year the game came down to the wire, but again ETSU could not overcome free throw shooting by Shanara Hollinquest. Last season the post player nailed the game-winning freebies with 4.3 ticks left inside Memorial Center, and tonight with UTC up three, she put in a pair to solidify the ballgame for the Lady Mocs.


To go along with Wiles' career night, juniors Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) each scored in double figures for the Lady Bucs. After netting 16 points Saturday night at Evansville, Evans pitched in with 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Belcher tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the losing effort. Chattanooga was led by Hollinquest's 18-point, 15-rebound performance and Jenaya Wade-Fray also aided the comeback with 14 of her own.


The Lady Bucs have now lost 23 of the last 30 games played in Chattanooga and fall to 0-2 on the early season. The Lady Mocs have now won 83 of their last 94 games played on the home floor and start the year off 1-0.


Both teams showcased an offensive clinic in the opening five minutes as they combined to go 11-for-17, and ETSU led, 13-12, heading into the first media timeout. The Lady Bucs gained a little breathing room over the next three minutes, using a 10-3 run to gain a 23-15 advantage, but six unanswered by UTC cut the margin to two, 23-21, with 8:08 left in the half. Wiles' second trey of the half halted the brief run and gave ETSU another spark, as the Lady Bucs rattled off nine consecutive points to extend their lead to 32-21 with less than five minutes remaining before the break. ETSU did not let up as they grabbed a pair of 13-point leads thanks to Kami Phillips' (Augusta, Ga.) third career three-point field goal and Belcher's layup, and the Lady Bucs eased its way into the locker room up 11, 41-30.


After struggling from the field on Saturday, the Lady Buccaneers made up for it by shooting 42.5 percent (17-40) in the first half. ETSU was led by Wiles' hot hand as she led all scorers with 12, and she knocked down two of the Lady Bucs' five treys. Pressure defense gave the Lady Mocs fits in the opening stanza by coughing the ball up 11 times - leading to 14 points on the offensive end for ETSU. 


ETSU used the opening minute of the second to half to good use by pushing its lead to 15, but then a 16-2 UTC run saw it diminish to 52-51, until a lay in by freshman Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) stopped the bleeding at the 11 minute mark. After Wade-Fray missed a wide-open layup, Wiles came down and nailed a jumper, giving the Lady Bucs the lead, 56-53. Unfortunately, a free throw and a lay in by LaCondra Mason tied the game at 58, with less than eight minutes to go in the ballgame.


From there, Wiles came out of the under eight media timeout and drained a jumper from the corner, but three straight three-point baskets and another Hollinquest layup gave UTC all the momentum they needed as they took a 69-61 advantage with 5:49 on the clock.  


The Lady Bucs stayed with the Lady Mocs cutting the lead to one, 70-69, but a missed jumper by Devin Thompson (Murfressboro, Tenn.) led to a Wade-Fray layup on the other end, which put the Lady Mocs up, 72-69, with 44 seconds left. On the next trip down the court, sophomore Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) got a good look at a three in front of ETSU's bench, but after Belcher pulled down a rebound and Wiles missed a jumper, UTC's Erin Ogan snatched the rebound.


Then, after a pair of free throws by Tenisha Townsend, Evans drove the lane and cut it to three, 74-71, but back-to-back missed turnover calls by the officials, led to Hollinquest being fouled with 14 ticks remaining. Again she came back to haunt the Lady Buccaneer faithful by nailing both and ending the contest.


For the game ETSU shot 39.7 percent (31-78), compared to Chattanooga going 28-for-65 (43.1 percent) from the floor and 9-of-27 from beyond the arc. The Lady Buccaneers only turned the ball over 11 times, but were outrebounded, 47-42.


Things do not get any easier for the Lady Bucs as they head home to take on 12th-ranked Vanderbilt Friday night. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center. Come out and support the ETSU women's team as they "Pack the House" and look to break last season's all-time attendance record of 1,236.      

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