Lady Bucs bounce back nicely with 31-point win in Kennesaw, 90-59
Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gordon posts first career double-double in rout over Owls


KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 7, 2010) - Following a stunning seven-point loss at USC Upstate on Monday evening, the Lady Bucs had one of two directions to take heading into their game with Kennesaw State - respond with a statement win or fold.


Fortunately, for the Lady Bucs, they chose the first option, as ETSU made a statement in Atlantic Sun Conference play with its 90-59 victory over the Owls on Thursday afternoon inside the KSU Convocation Center.  

Junior newcomer Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) made the most of her first start at the point for the Lady Bucs. Gordon, who was filling in for the injured Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), finished with a game-high 21 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in 25 minutes of work. Gordon became the first player since Brooke Wilhoit (2003-06) to record at least 12 assists in a game, as the Sevierville, Tenn. native dished out the same amount at Stetson back on Dec. 2, 2006.

Joining Gordon in double figures were Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.), Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) and TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.). Evans and Washington both pitched in with 17 apiece and Wiles netted 13. Evans also grabbed eight rebounds in 23 minutes of work; while Wiles came through with five steals and three assists.

With the win, ETSU remained a perfect 8-0 all-time against Kennesaw State, and the Lady Bucs improved to 5-7, 3-1. Meanwhile, the Owls suffered their sixth straight loss and dropped to 4-10, 1-4 on the year.

"After the loss at Upstate on Monday, I told the team we have to come ready to play every night, because each team is gunning for us," commented head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday. "I felt like from the tip we played with a lot more intensity and passion than we have seen in a while. We have two seniors in the locker room and they want to go out with one more championship, so they do a good job leading and telling these youngsters to play their heart out each game."

"I thought Tarita did a tremendous job filling in for Tara - who has been nursing a sore back as of late. From day one, I knew Tarita was capable of playing like she did tonight. Now she needs to build off this performance and play with some consistency."

The Lady Bucs came out focused and on fire in the opening 2 minutes, 36 seconds - grabbing an early 12-2 lead - forcing the Owls to burn a 30-second timeout after Washington nailed her second three-pointer in the corner. ETSU continued to pour it on - and after back-to-back treys from Evans and Gordon - the Lady Bucs pushed their lead to 18, 27-9, with 11:32 remaining in the half. The fun wasn't done for ETSU, as the Blue and Gold grabbed a 21-point lead, 36-15, when Evans converted a 3-three-point-play at the 6:20 mark. Despite hitting a stretch where ETSU committed five turnovers in a three and a half minute span, the Lady Bucs were still able to take a 24-point lead into the break, as Ashley Benedict's (Rome, Ohio) lay-in with 23 seconds put ETSU ahead 47-23.

For the half, ETSU shot a blistering 63.3 percent (19-30); while seven different players reached the scoring column. After only hitting three 3-pointers on Monday night at Upstate, the Lady Bucs redeemed themselves, going 5-of-7 in the open 20 minutes. ETSU's defense forced 16 first-half turnovers - resulting in 20 points off the miscues - while also leading 16 to 0 in fast-break points. The Lady Buccaneer defense also limited the Owls to only nine made field goals (31 attempts) and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.

ETSU kept its foot on the gas pedal to open the second half, as Wiles started things with a deep trey from the corner - extending the Lady Buccaneer lead to 50-23 - with only 17 seconds coming off the clock.   

Things never stopped for the Lady Bucs - and after ETSU grabbed a 59-25 advantage following an Evans steal and Gordon lay-in - Kennesaw State called a timeout at the 17:21 mark.

From there, the Lady Bucs weren't done scoring, and eventually grabbed their largest lead of the season, 76-37, after Gordon drained one of her four treys with 9 minutes, 16 seconds showing on the clock.

The lead was able to give coach Kemp the option to use her bench and give the starters a rest, as Washington played the most minutes at 30.

In total, all 13 Lady Buccaneer players saw action, with 10 reaching the scoring column.

The Lady Bucs shot a season-best 58.7 percent from the floor and had 25 assists on their 37 made field goals, both marking season-highs. ETSU finished 10-of-15 from beyond the arc, and forced the Owls into 24 turnovers (30 points off the errors for the Lady Bucs). Kennesaw State ended 21-of-62 (33.9 percent) from the field and only made two of its 12 three-point attempts.

Gia Lockett led KSU with 14 points, but also had 12 turnovers in the 31-point loss.

The Lady Bucs conclude their season-long five-game road swing on Saturday afternoon when ETSU takes on Mercer. Tip is set for 1 p.m. inside the University Center.

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