Evans, Gordon lift Lady Bucs to overtime win over Hawai'i, 94-83
Monday, November 30, 2009

Evans, Wiles land all-tournament team honors


HONOLULU, Hawai'i (Nov. 29, 2009) - An extra five minutes of play was needed, but in the end it was worth it for the Lady Bucs.

Senior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) posted her fourth straight double-double (17 points/12 rebounds) and junior newcomer Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) netted a career-high 25 points, leading the ETSU women's basketball team to a 94-83 overtime win over Hawai'i on Sunday night inside the Stan Sheriff Center.

With the win, ETSU snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 2-3 on the season, while Hawai'i dropped to 1-4. Also, Sunday's win marked the Lady Bucs' first November road victory since knocking off Mercer back on Nov. 30, 2006.  

The Lady Bucs scored the first seven points in the overtime period and never looked back, as ETSU outscored the Rainbow Wahine 19-8 and cruised to the 11-point victory. Evans scored five of the first seven points in extra stanza and the Lady Bucs carried all the momentum with them to victory.

"It's always good to get a win, but to go on a road trip and win in this environment makes it a lot better," commented head coach Karen Kemp. "I told the team they needed to go out in the overtime period and take control. I felt the team responded well after making a few shots early, and it took the air out of Hawai'i a little bit. We knew Hawai'i was a very physical and scrappy team, so we couldn't back down. They (Hawai'i) put on a great tournament and we got two tough games out of this trip."

At the post-tournament ceremony, two Lady Buccaneers landed all-tournament team honors, as Evans and TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) took home accolades. Evans averaged 19.5 points, 12 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two games, while Wiles recorded 17.5 points and four rebounds.   

The Lady Bucs looked to take control in the early minutes of the first half, as ETSU raced out to an early 8-2 lead, but lack of defense let Hawai'i even the score at 10-all heading into the first media timeout at the 15:43 mark. From there, neither team established any breathing room, as the next eight minutes of the contest saw one tie and three lead changes until the Lady Bucs finally opened a 12-point cushion (33-21) - forcing Hawai'i to burn a 30-second timeout after Gordon drained her fourth field goal of the half with less than eight minutes remaining before intermission.

Once again defensive flaws haunted the Lady Bucs and the Rainbow Wahine only need the next minute, 47 seconds to cut the 12-point deficit to three, 33-30, after Dita Liepkalne connected on a pair of free throws. The game remained tight for the remaining five-plus minutes of the half, but a tip-in by Evans at the buzzer gave the Lady Bucs a 49-41 advantage at the break.

Offense wasn't the issue for either team in the first 20 minutes, as both clubs combined to make 32 field goals. ETSU shot 48.5 percent (16-33) in the opening stanza - and after shooting a dismal 55.6 percent at the free throw line yesterday against Arizona State - the Lady Bucs were a blistering 91.7 percent tonight (11-of-12). The Lady Bucs did a solid job distributing the ball, as ETSU accounted for eight assists on its 16 made field goals.

After posting a strong shooting percentage in the first half, ETSU came out ice cold to start the second - going 2-of-10 - letting Hawai'i to tie the game at 52-all at the 15:48 mark. The Lady Buccaneer shooting woes continued and the Rainbow Wahine grabbed their first lead since the 13:12 mark of the first half after Liepkalne laid one in - giving Hawai'i a 58-56 advantage with 12:35 left in regulation. ETSU responded on the following possession when Evans scored two of her 17 points to even the game at 58-all.

Again, the game was a battle, with two ties and six lead changes being recorded from the 11:48 mark to 7:09 left in regulation, but Gordon took over - scoring four of the next six points to put the Lady Bucs ahead, 72-67. However, Hawai'i didn't back down and scored six unanswered points to regain a 73-72 lead with 3:15 showing on the clock.

Then, Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) came through in the clutch and snapped a four and a half minute scoring drought when she nailed a deep trey to put ETSU back up 75-73 with 1:56 left in the contest. Hawai'i answered with a game-tying bucket from Allie Patterson, and neither team could find the bottom of the net in the final minute and thirty seconds. Both teams had chances, but Gordon coughed the ball up with 23 ticks and Keisha Kanekoa missed a running floater with three seconds left in regulation to send the game into extra frames.   

The Lady Bucs made three of their four field goal attempts in overtime and finished 30-of-69 from the field (43.5 percent). Meanwhile, Hawai'i went 2-of-9 in the extra stanza and shot 38.3 percent (31-81) for the game. ETSU out-rebounded the Rainbow Wahine - 48 to 46 - and assisted on 14 of its 30 field goals made.

In addition to Evans and Gordon, freshman post Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.) posted her best game thus far in a Lady Buccaneer uniform. Austin finished with six points and a career high 15 rebounds in 39 minutes of work. Wiles scored 21 points and dished out four assists, while Davis chipped in with 14 points, five boards and four assists.

Hawai'i had five players reach double figures in scoring and was led by Patterson's 19-point effort. Rebecca Dew also added a double-double effort in the losing effort - posting 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lady Bucs return to action on Saturday, Dec. 5, when ETSU opens Atlantic Sun Conference play with North Florida. Tip time is set for 1 p.m. inside Memorial Center.

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