ETSU to face Pioneers in replace of Emory & Henry
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 31, 2010) - The ETSU women's basketball team opens its exhibition season when the Lady Bucs take on Tusculum Monday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Originally, the Lady Bucs had Emory & Henry penciled in for their first exhibition game; however, a scheduling error led to ETSU replacing them with the Pioneers on Monday night.
The Lady Bucs are coming off their best season in school history after posting 23 wins and making their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10. However, some important faces are no longer with ETSU as Atlantic Sun co-Players of the Year Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) graduated this past May and took their game overseas. Evans and Wiles rank fifth and sixth all-time in scoring; while Evans became only the third player in Lady Buccaneer history to record over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. In addition to losing this dynamic duo, ETSU lost the services of senior guard Tarita Gordon (Wichita, Kan.) when she suffered a season-ending knee injury while playing for the Jamaican National Team in July. Gordon, who transferred to ETSU last offseason, erupted for a career-high 30 points in the NCAA Tournament loss to Xavier and was tied for third in scoring at 11.1 points per game.
Despite not having those three players in 2010-11, the Lady Bucs still have some top players to turn to as ETSU looks to make a run at a fourth straight A-Sun Tournament title. Senior point guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) takes over the leadership role for coach Karen Kemp, while red-shirt senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) returns for a final season. Davis, who was one of five unanimous preseason all-conference selections, averaged 11.1 points and led the team with 112 assists and 137 free throws a year ago. Meanwhile, after rehabbing from another knee injury, Belcher - a 2009 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year and 2008 Tournament MVP - enters the season 64 steals short of the all-time school record. Both Davis and Belcher look to join the 1,000-point club as well. Davis is 339 points shy and Belcher needs to pitch in 144 points to enter the prestigious grouping.
ETSU looks to be challenged in its first game Monday night as Tusculum returns seven players from last year's club that posted its third straight 20-win campaign (23-10) and won its first NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship. Two key players returning for the Pioneers include 4-foot-11 guard Jasmine Gunn and 6-foot-8 post Catherine Hintz. Dunn, a 2010 first team All-American, averaged 21.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 2009-10. Dunn ranked eighth in the nation in scoring and 38th in assists. Hintz posted 10.6 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Pioneers, while Kendal Baxter came off the bench to knock down 105 threes in 32 games played.
Tusculum is coming off a 75-49 win over Virginia Intermont Thursday night inside Pioneer Arena. Gunn finished with 17 points and five assists, while junior forward Staci Hicks also chipped in with 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Monday marks the third meeting between the two programs with ETSU holding a 2-0 advantage in the series. The last meeting in the series occurred on Nov. 22, 2004 when the Lady Bucs defeated Tusculum, 77-61.
Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City can catch all the action online courtesy of A-Sun.TV, while live stats will also be available via Gametracker. Click on the links above to access both sites.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.