SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 27, 2012) – The ETSU women’s basketball team begins a three-game road swing on Saturday evening when the Lady Bucs travel to the G.B. Hodge Center to face USC Upstate. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m.
The Lady Bucs – who won four of their nine conference games in the first half of the season – hope a strong performance against LSU on Tuesday night could help give the Blue and Gold the momentum they need to climb up the league standings in the final month of regular play.
ETSU (5-15, 4-5 A-Sun) is coming off a 71-68 setback to SEC power LSU inside the MSHA Athletic Center; however, the Lady Bucs have been playing a new style of basketball since defeating Lipscomb by 37 points back on Jan. 21. The Lady Bucs have done a tremendous job distributing the basketball as ETSU has totaled 24 assists, while knocking down 18 three-pointers during its last two outings – including a season-high 10 against LSU.
Freshman Amy Duke (Hendersonville, Tenn.) netted three of those 10 threes on Tuesday night as she finished with a career-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting against the Lady Tigers, while senior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) stepped up with 12 points, six rebounds, three steals, and two assists in 28 minutes of play. Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) got the Blue and Gold off to a hot start as she scored nine of the first 13 points to put her team up 10, 13-3, while the Lady Bucs led 33-24 at the break. From there, LSU gained some momentum after the half as they took a four-point lead early on, but the Lady Bucs responded and led by as many as six midway through the second half and by four with two minutes to play. However, the Lady Tigers scored the final four points in regulation and sent the game into overtime when Swayze Black’s jumper as time expired counted. Again, ETSU held a lead with two minutes to go in overtime (68-65), but LSU registered the final five points to survive the scare.
As the Lady Bucs look to carry momentum into the second half of the conference season, USC Upstate (5-15, 4-5) enters the final nine-game conference stretch on a three-game winning streak.
After losing 13 of their first 14 games to start the season, the Spartans have won four of their last five games, including a 61-51 win over Belmont a week ago. USC Upstate led for the majority of the game against the Bruins, while the Spartan bench accounted for 32 points. Tee’Ara Copney came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points in 36 minutes of play, while Lauren McRoberts recorded a double-double (11 points/10 rebounds). The Spartans won the game at the free throw and three-point stripe, as USC Upstate outscored Belmont by eight at the charity stripe – 20 to 12 – while also netting four more threes than the Bruins.
Copney currently ranks second in the A-Sun in scoring with 15.7 points per game, while USC Upstate as a team is shooting 40.7 percent and limiting its opponents to 66.3 points per game versus conference foes. Overall, the Spartans are shooting 35.8 percent from the floor, but allowing 73.0 points per game in their 20 games played this season.
Should the Lady Bucs capture the series sweep against the Spartans, ETSU will have to do something they haven’t done in almost three years – win in Spartanburg. Despite leading the all-time series, 7-2, the Lady Bucs have not won inside the Hodge Center since Feb. 23, 2009 when ETSU defeated USC Upstate, 90-84. The Lady Bucs lost by eight (78-70) last year and by seven (85-78) back on Jan. 4, 2010. However, the Blue and Gold took down the Spartans, 67-64, 24 days ago in Johnson City – where Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Bowling did most of the damage. Pickwell finished with 22 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, while Bowling came off the bench to add 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Fans unable to make the trip to Spartanburg can listen to all the action on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster as “Voice of the Lady Bucs” John Stevens will carry the play-by-play. Live video will also be offered via A-Sun.TV, while live stats will provided by USC Upstate athletics.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com