Evans joins Lady Buccaneer elite; ETSU downs Mercer, 83-71
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evans becomes third Lady Buccaneer player to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 11, 2010) - When senior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) stepped on ETSU's campus four years ago the Lady Buccaneer faithful were getting the total package.


On Thursday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center, Evans continued to join elite status as the Griffin, Ga. native became the third player in program history to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in the Lady Bucs' 83-71 victory over Mercer.


Evans, who entered the contest with 999 career rebounds, pulled down the first of 14 boards in the opening minute, 38 seconds of the contest. The Preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year selection - who was limping up and down the court in 33 minutes of work - still managed to fight through the pain and post her 15th double-double of the year (48th of her career) after scoring 11 points. Meanwhile, fellow senior TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) broke out of a scoring slump to lead all players with 25 points - marking the 44th time in the last 46 games the Danville, Va. native has reached double figures. Wiles - who finished 11-of-15 from the field - grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists in 38 minutes of action.


With the victory, ETSU extended its home winning streak to nine straight games, and improved to 15-8, 13-2 in conference play. The Bears suffered their fourth straight loss and dipped to 11-13, 8-7.


"The Florida trip wasn't a pleasant one, so we wanted to come out and be ready to play on both ends of the floor," commented head coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs secured their fifth straight winning season. "Like TaRonda (Wiles) said, she has been in a scoring slump, so to see her get the scoring touch back meant a whole lot to the team."


"Being injured like Siarre is, I really don't know how she does it," commented Kemp. "It amazes me every night when she steps out on the floor. She just has a nose for the ball - when the shot goes up - she can just read where the ball is going to end up. She is a tremendous rebounder, and we hope she continues to get 14 rebounds a night for the rest of her career. She's an outstanding young lady and she will do whatever it takes to make this team win."


In the first half, the Lady Bucs jumped all over the Bears from the get-go and led 15-2 after Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) found Evans open underneath for an easy lay-in at the 14:54 mark. ETSU wasn't done having its fun, as the Lady Bucs pushed their lead up to 22, 30-8, forcing Mercer to burn a 30-second timeout when Johneshia Good (Johnson City) found Wiles for a lay-up with 8 minutes, 22 seconds remaining before the break.


After missing its first six shots and four of its first 19 attempts, Mercer found a little momentum as the Bears posted a brief 7-0 run - lowering the deficit to 15, 30-15, with 6:20 showing on the clock. However, over the next six minutes, the Lady Bucs extended their lead to 19, 44-25 when Santana Morrison (Statesville, N.C.) assisted Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) on a  fast-break lay-up with 1:13 left before intermission.


ETSU, who have been getting off to slow starts in each of its last four contests, shot 53.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes (16-30); however, only connected on one of its seven 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, the Bears shot 36.4 percent in the opening stanza and were 3-of-10 from beyond the arc. The Lady Bucs dominated on the glass - out-rebounding the Bears - 23 to 14. Wiles led all scorers with 13 at the break, while eight of the 10 ETSU players reached the scoring column.


After the Lady Bucs controlled tempo in the first half, Mercer came out strong in the second. The Bears - who trailed by 15 at the break - used the first 6 minutes, 51 seconds of the second half to cut the ETSU lead to six, 55-46.


Following the Neicey Lewis lay-up at the 13:09 mark, Evans quickly pushed the Lady Buccaneer lead up to nine after nailing her only 3-pointer of the game on the next possession. Unfortunately, Lewis answered with a three of her own on the next trip down for Mercer - making it 58-52 with 12:37 remaining the game.


From there, Mercer would pull to within five, 58-53, after Amber Coleman's free throw make, but ETSU dug deep and protected its home floor.


The Lady Bucs scored the next eight points following that free throw and pushed their lead back into double figures, as Wiles' jumper with ten minutes remaining gave ETSU a 66-53 advantage. That 8-0 run was the back-breaker for Mercer, as the Bears would only get as close as eight points (70-62) and the Lady Bucs held their own over the final six minutes of the contest.


For the game, ETSU shot an even 50-percent from the field (30-60) and finished 4-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Bears shot 40.6 percent (26-64) and 8-of-24 from long range. Once again, the Lady Bucs dominated the glass - out-rebounding Mercer by 15 (45-30) - with four Blue and Gold players tallying at least six rebounds.


In total, four Lady Buccaneer players scored in double figures, with Davis adding 17 points and Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) chipping in with 13 points and six rebounds.


Mercer - who also had four players reach double figures in scoring - was led by Lacy Ramon's 18-point effort.


The Lady Bucs will look to wrap up the number seed in next month's General Shale Brick A-Sun Tournament when ETSU hosts Kennesaw State on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. A win by the Lady Bucs locks up the number one seed in the single-elimination tournament. 


In addition to the game, every fan who wears pink to the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center will receive $1 admission, as Saturday marks the Lady Bucs' WBCA Pink Zone Game.


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