Four Lady Bucs scored in double figures, Davis nets game-high 23 points
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2011) - After seeing the men's basketball team pull out a double overtime thriller Saturday night at Lipscomb, the Lady Bucs wanted to follow the same script Monday night at Belmont. Just like the Bucs, the ETSU women's basketball team prevailed after showing both its mental and physical toughness in a 90-86 victory inside the Curb Event Center.
Two Lady Buccaneer players recorded double-doubles in the win as red-shirt senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) recorded her fourth straight by posting 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 43 minutes of play. Joining Belcher in double figure scoring and rebounding was junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) as she ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, junior guard Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) just missed recording her first career double-double after finishing with 18 points and nine boards. Rounding out the scoring attack was senior guard Tara Davis' (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 23-point, 7-rebound, 6-assist effort, while going the distance by logging all 50 minutes.
With the win, ETSU not only improved to 18-10, 15-4, but the Lady Bucs locked up the number one seed in next month's General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. Belmont dropped to 8-19, 5-13 with the setback.
"It's always tough to win on the road and for it to be a double overtime victory makes it more special," said head coach Karen Kemp, who has now won nine straight over Belmont and 13 consecutive games over A-Sun foes in the Music City. "I'm pleased with the win, but I was more pleased with effort we showed tonight after playing sluggish the last couple of games. We knew getting defensive stops was going to be key down the stretch in regulation and overtime. Once we made the adjustment with the two posts lying off the high ball screens that allowed Natalie and Shawn to stay out there and cover their shooters."
After getting off to sluggish starts in their last two outings, the Lady Bucs looked much better tonight as they hit on eight of their first 13 shots and led 24-16 after Washington hit a jumper at the 9:07 mark.
Unfortunately, ETSU's hot shooting fizzled and Belmont capitalized by pulling within two, but five unanswered points by the Blue and Gold put the Lady Bucs up 31-24 with less than five minutes left before the break. The Bruins wouldn't back down as Julianne Downs scored the next five points - and after Haley Nelson converted an and-one - Belmont trailed 34-32 with 1:57 showing on the clock. Washington put the Lady Bucs up four after netting ETSU's twelfth consecutive free throw, but a Downs lay-up at the buzzer cut the Bruins' deficit to two at the half.
The Lady Bucs shot 3-of-18 in the final nine minutes to finish 11-of-31 (35 percent) for the half; however, ETSU kept its lead by going a perfect 12-of-12 at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Belmont shot 45 percent from the field (14-31) and made two of its three free throw attempts. Both teams found good ball movement as the Lady Bucs assisted on seven of their 11 makes and the Bruins had ten assists on 14 made field goals.
With Belmont trailing for the majority of the first half, Molly Ernst quickly gave the Bruins the lead in the opening seconds of the second half after her third three-pointer made it a 37-36 contest. The Bruins went up three after Ernst sank a pair of free throws when Davis was charged with a technical, but the foul ignited an 8-0 run for the Lady Bucs and ETSU led 46-41 after Davis drove the lane for a lay-up with 15:31 left in the game.
Once again the Bruins rallied to regain a 58-51 lead after Ernst capped off a 17-5 run by recording her sixth three-pointer of the night, but ETSU scored the next seven points to tie the game at 58 with less eight minutes to go. Belmont pushed its lead back to five, but a 7-0 Lady Buccaneer spurt put the Blue and Gold back up 69-67. However, a key turnover by Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) following Belcher's steal with one minute, fifty seconds to go, led to a Whitney Seals jumper with 1:37 remaining - marking the last points scored in regulation even though both teams had looks for a game-winner in the final seconds.
Despite having Belmont score the first four points of the first overtime, ETSU stayed strong and Washington's eighth three-pointer of the season knotted things at 76 with thirty-two seconds to play. After Belmont's Ernst missed a jumper at the free throw line, the Lady Bucs had one last chance with 3.1 seconds remaining. Following a 30-second timeout by coach Kemp, Davis fumbled the inbounds pass - forcing the second extra stanza.
Just like the first overtime, the Bruins scored the first points in the second frame, but ETSU forced the 11th tie of the contest thanks to Davis finding Belcher down low in the paint - making it 78-all at the 4:07 mark. Then, on Belmont's next trip down the floor, Ernst nailed a jumper; however, that would be the final time the Bruins held a lead.
Three free throws by Belcher over the next minute and thirty-two seconds put the Blue and Gold up one, and Davis' three-pointer from the top of the arc with 1:38 to play gave ETSU an 84-80 advantage. Belmont pulled to within two with just over a minute left, but Washington's lay-up and Belcher's block on Kristin Nash's jumper with 23 ticks left proved to be the daggers. The Lady Bucs made their final four free throws in the closing seconds to come away victorious.
Despite its shooting woes, the Lady Bucs dominated the Bruins in rebounding and free throw shooting. ETSU shot 36 percent for the contest, but the Blue and Gold out-rebounded Belmont by 22, 57 to 35; while also going 29-of-33 at the charity stripe. The Lady Bucs had 30 offensive rebounds, compared to Belmont's 13. The Bruins shot 47 percent (32-68) and went 13-for-19 at the free throw line.
Belmont was led by Ernst's 22 points and Tereva Moore added 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lady Bucs wrap up regular season play when ETSU travels to Buies Creek, N.C. to face Campbell Thursday night. Tip is set for 5:15 p.m. inside the John W. Pope Convocation Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.