Lady Bucs have productive opening weekend of practice
Monday, October 20, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 20, 2008) - Coming off its most successful season in ETSU women's basketball history, head coach Karen Kemp and the Lady Buccaneers hit the hardwood for the first time this weekend, as official practices began on Friday evening inside Memorial Center.


The Lady Bucs, who are coming off their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, had a very productive weekend as coach Kemp was pleased with what she has seen early on.


"I am pleased with the effort and performance the team has shown through our first five practices," commented Kemp. "They worked very hard this weekend and we focused most of our attention to defense."


One goal Kemp and the team have set for the upcoming season is holding the opposition to 65 points or fewer. Should the Lady Bucs follow this recipe, good results may follow, as ETSU has led the league in scoring offense since arriving to the Atlantic Sun Conference three years ago.


"Over the weekend we spent a lot of time on defense and rebounding drills, because this is something I really want the team to take great pride in," said Kemp, whose team ranked first in rebounding offense last season. "I feel like we will be able to score in a variety of ways, so if we can improve on defense we should be in good shape this year."


One thing for certain is the Lady Bucs will be sporting a bulls-eye across their jersey each time they take the court after being selected first in the preseason conference rankings. If ETSU wants to defend its crown coach Kemp and the players know they need to work hard every day at practice and show the same hunger on game days.


Working hard and being physical is something Kemp's crew showed this weekend, as the Lady Bucs practiced five times in three days. 


"We know every team in our conference is gunning for this season," said Kemp. "Our team needs to stay focused and play with hunger each time they take the court if we want to repeat as champions."


Coach Kemp was pleased with what she saw from the entire team, but was even more excited with the play of sophomore guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and freshman post Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.).


"Gwen was working extremely hard during the opening weekend of practice. She was picking up on things very quickly.  If Gwen continues showing up with the same work ethic, she will make an immediate impact to this team."


"Like Gwen, Tara really came in focused and on a mission to play hard and help the team. Her play on the defensive end was solid and her shooting has also improved."


Davis and Washington are just a few faces Buccaneer fans can see on Tuesday night during ETSU's first-ever "Bluenanza" Basketball Tip-Off special. This event is open to the public, beginning at 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center.


"I think the Bluenanza event is a great idea," said Kemp. "It gives our fans a glimpse of what our team is made of, and the opportunity to meet both basketball teams before the season kicks off."


The Lady Buccaneers will remain busy during their preseason practices as ETSU gears up for its season-opener on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Evansville.


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