SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Dec. 3, 2010) - Having a week off between games, the ETSU women's basketball team finally returns to the hardwood as the Lady Bucs open Atlantic Sun Conference play Saturday afternoon at USC Upstate. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m. inside the newly renovated G.B. Hodge Center.
The Lady Bucs are coming off an 87-71 setback last Friday night at Middle Tennessee State and ETSU (2-3) has now lost three straight after opening up the season with back-to-back wins. The Lady Bucs allowed the Blue Radiers to drain 12 three-pointers and score 40 points off 30 turnovers last week in Murfreesboro, while senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) paced the Blue and Gold with 17 points. The Lady Bucs shot 88.2 percent (30-34) at the free throw line, marking the first time ETSU has made at least 30 free throws in a game since Jan. 10, 2000.
Senior captain Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) is leading the way with 16.8 points per game and 4.4 assists per contest, while freshman Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) has turned in back-to-back respectable efforts for the Lady Bucs. Randall is averaging 12 points, two rebounds and two assists in 23.5 minutes in the last two contests.
ETSU has enjoyed a lot of success since joining the A-Sun in 2005-06. The Lady Bucs are 76-18 in conference games and have won the last three tournament titles and two of the last three regular season crowns. Furthermore, the Blue and Gold have also won 55 of their last 62 games against conference foes (includes the 2008-2010 A-Sun Tournaments).
USC Upstate (2-2) is coming off a 78-73 overtime win at Presbyterian Thursday night. Chelsea McMillan, the preseason for player of the year, finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the five-point win over the Blue Hose. For the year, McMillan is averaging 12.8 points and 13.0 rebounds, while reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Tee'Ara Copney leads the Spartans in scoring at 19.0 points per game.
As a team, Upstate was picked third by the A-Sun coaches and tied the Lady Bucs for second by the media.
Saturday marks the seventh meeting between the conference schools with ETSU holding a 5-1 advantage in the series. The lone Lady Buccaneer defeat occurred last year in Spartanburg, when USC Upstate handed ETSU an 85-78 loss back on Jan. 4, 2010. However, in the five ETSU victories, the Lady Bucs are winning on average of 21.6 points, with the smallest margin of victory being six (90-84) and the largest win by 41 (96-55).
Fans unable to make the trip to Spartanburg can listen to all the action on WXSM-AM 640 The Sports Monster as Voice of the Lady Bucs John Stevens will handle the play-by-play duties. Live video streaming will also be available through ASun.TV, while USC Upstate Athletic Department will also provide live stats by visiting www.upstatespartans.com.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.