Despite turning the ball over 28 times and shooting 2-for-16 from beyond the arc, the ETSU women's basketball team battled past a stingy Jacksonville club by hitting 27 of its 30 free throw attempts en route to 77-72 Atlantic Sun Conference victory on Monday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
Siarre Evans (
With the win, ETSU improved to 4-4, 2-0 in Atlantic Sun play; while
"Anytime you are playing at home, you need to step up your game and win," commented head coach Karen Kemp, who saw her Lady Bucs improve to 10-1 lifetime over the Dolphins. "It's really important to protect your home floor, so this win was key for our team. However, if we don't step up our game defensively, we won't a lot of ball games. Right now we are just trying to outscore teams and not playing well on the defensive end."
After shooting a season-low 56-percent at the free throw line in its five-point loss at Appalachian State last Thursday night, ETSU stepped up and won the game there tonight. The Lady Bucs sank 10 straight free throws in the final 2 minutes, 29 seconds to remain perfect in conference play. ETSU set season bests with its 27 made free throws and 90.0 percentage clip at the charity stripe.
"Since the Appalachian game every player probably put up 500 free throws," commented Kemp. "The team wasn't happy coming in and putting up 100 attempts every day, but it made a difference tonight."
With ETSU leading by six at the break (38-32), both teams started the second half trading baskets until
Jacksonville never managed to take the lead following that jumper, but the Dolphins hung around until ETSU moved its three-point lead back up to seven, 67-60, when Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) connected on two of her eight free throw makes with 4:26 showing on the clock. The Dolphins continued to fight their way back into the contest, and made it a three-point affair, 69-66, following Abril Peoples' jumper with 46 ticks remaining. Fortunately, for the Lady Bucs, they learned from their mistakes in Boone and sank eight consecutive free throw shots in the closing 32 seconds to secure the victory.
For the game, ETSU shot 39.3 percent from field (24-61) and 12.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Joining Evans and Wiles in double figures were Davis and sophomore Gwen Washington (
In the first half, the Lady Bucs jumped out to a hot start thanks to a 50-percent shooting clip in the opening six minutes, as ETSU grabbed an early 14-6 lead, forcing
ETSU dominated in the paint as the Lady Bucs held a 22-8 margin in that category; however, the long range shot was not kind to the Blue and Gold in the opening 20 minutes. After Evans began the game with a 3-pointer at the 19:27 mark, ETSU missed its final eight attempts from beyond the arc.
Prior to the game Wiles was given a special game ball, after becoming the 17th Lady Buccaneer player to reach the 1,000-point club back on Nov. 22 at Arkansas. Following Wiles' 21-point effort tonight, she ranks 14th all-time with 1,103 points.
The Lady Bucs return to action on Monday, Dec. 28, when ETSU travels to the
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