Davis' career-high 23-point effort lifts Lady Bucs past Stetson xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft- com:office:office" />
DELAND, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2010) - For the second straight year the Lady Bucs walked into Stetson's Edmunds Center and walked out with a huge sigh of relief.
Junior point guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) scored a career-high 23 points and senior Siarre Evans tallied her 14th double- double of the year - finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds - as the Lady Bucs held off a scrappy Stetson club, 57-55, on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, ETSU improved to 14- 8, 12-2 in the A-Sun, while Stetson dropped to 5-19, 5-10.
"Like coaches always say life on the road is tough, and anytime you can get a win away from home is key," said coach Karen Kemp, whose Lady Bucs have won by a combined three points in their last two trips to Stetson. "We came out and started the game like we were supposed to, but once they hit a couple of shots it seemed our defense kind of let up. Tara and Siarre were big for us tonight. Tara is a great off the ball defender and she had a few picks that really gave us momentum in the second half. Again, she was our spark and knocked down some big shots for us."
Both teams got off to a sluggish start to begin the first 4 minutes, 14 seconds of the game, as the clubs combined to go 1-for-13 from the field; however two free throws by Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) and an Evans lay-up put the Lady Bucs ahead, 4-0 at the 15:46 mark. From there Evans and Davis gave ETSU a lift, as they combined to score 12 of the Lady Bucs' first 14 points and the Blue and Gold led by seven with 10:12 showing on the clock. However, ETSU's offense became stagnant as the Lady Bucs turned the ball over four times and only scored five points over the next 6 minutes, 11 seconds - leading to Stetson taking a 23- 19 when Tierra Brown laid one in with 3:51 left before intermission. Despite holding the Hatters scoreless for the final three and a half minutes, ETSU still trailed by two at the break, 23-21.
The Lady Bucs shot a frigid 28.6 percent (8-28) from the field and were 3-of-9 from behind the arc, compared to Stetson going 9-for-30 (30 percent) and 2-of-8 from 3-point land. ETSU out- rebounded the Hatters 22-18; however, the Lady Bucs turned the ball over 12 times in the opening 20 minutes.
ETSU came out with some intensity to start the second half, as ETSU scored the first six points and regained a 27-23 lead after TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) sank jumper at the 17:39 mark.
From there, the Lady Bucs held the lead for the next 5 minutes, 6 seconds; however Lyllique Roman's second 3-pointer of the half tied the game at 36-all, but Davis came down and silenced the Hatters with a quick dagger of her own - putting ETSU back up 39-36 with 12:16 remaining in the contest.
The Lady Bucs would extend their lead to seven, 43-36, but Stetson recorded a 6-0 run to make it 43-42 with less than ten minutes left in the ballgame. Again, ETSU looked to have gained some momentum after Gordon was fouled from beyond the arc and made two of her three attempts - giving ETSU a 51-46 advantage with under five to play. Unfortunately, another Stetson 3-pointer by Ashli Jackson cut the deficit to two, 51-49, but Davis came through again with a clutch trey to give the Blue and Gold a five-point cushion, 54-49, with 3 minutes, 30 seconds showing on the clock.
Stetson would rattle off five consecutive points over the next two-plus minutes, and tied the game at 54 with 56 seconds on the clock.
Then, coming out of a timeout, the Lady Bucs executed their play to perfection as Wiles found freshman post Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.) wide open for a lay-up. The lay in marked Austin's only points of the afternoon and gave ETSU a 56-54 lead with 37 seconds remaining.
"Tosha came through with a big lay- up coming out of that timeout," commented Kemp. "She was open and fortunately she made the shot to give us the lead."
On the Hatters' next trip down, they found Natasha Graboski in the paint; however, Austin refused to let her get a shot up and fouled her with 11 ticks on the clock. Graboski swished her first attempt but clanked her second, and Evans pulled down the board. The Griffin, Ga. native was able to take a few seconds off the clock before being fouled with 5.2 seconds to go.
After Stetson used up its final two timeouts to ice Evans at the charity stripe, the senior guard missed the first but connected on the second - making it 57-55. Stetson had one final look to tie - but when Tierra Brown missed on a jumper - the clocked expired and the Lady Bucs came away with the two-point win.
For the game, ETSU shot 32.7 percent (18-55) from the field, compared to Stetson's 33.9 clip (19-56). The Lady Bucs did a tremendous job with their free throws - finishing 16-of-19 - and ETSU out-rebounded the Hatters 42 to 33. ETSU also outscored Stetson 22 to 10 in the paint and had 10 second-chance points.
Stetson, who had four in double figures, was led by Jackson's 18-point effort.
The Lady Bucs return home to take on Mercer on Thursday, Feb. 11. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.