JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 10, 2012) – The ETSU women’s basketball team hosts its annual breast cancer awareness game on Saturday afternoon when the Lady Bucs host North Florida inside the MSHA Athletic Center. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m.
Instead of Blue and Gold being the prominent colors on Saturday, “Pink” will be the theme as the Lady Bucs take part in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) “Play 4 Kay” game in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Kay Yow. Yow, who battled with the disease and passed away back on Jan. 24, 2009, was a past president and founding member of the WBCA, and a galvanizing voice for the association.
In 2007, the WBCA started the initiative with its “Pink Zone” theme, but this past year the organization rebranded the name in honor of Coach Yow to “Play 4 Kay.” The mission of the initiative has remained intact: a nation of coaches raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund will continue to be the official charity of the initiative.
On Saturday, the Lady Bucs (6-18, 5-8 A-Sun) will be sporting pink to tie into the game. Hopefully the Lady Bucs can use the event to come together as a team and end their losing skid.
ETSU dropped its second consecutive game after suffering an 88-82 setback on Thursday night against Jacksonville. Four Lady Buccaneer players scored in double figures with sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) recording her second straight double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) added 20 points on four made three-pointers.
Following the game, head coach Karen Kemp referenced the lack of leadership and team chemistry in the postgame press conference.
“All week in practice we stressed the importance of coming together as a team and stop worrying about the individual statistics,” said Kemp. “We just have to pull together as a team – and until we do that – the outcome is going to be like it was over these last few games. As a coach, my role is to pull this group together as a team, and unfortunately we don’t have that leadership from any one player. Hopefully we can find the energy, passion, and heart like we did in the second half against Jacksonville and turn things around over these last five games.”
Meanwhile, North Florida (9-16, 6-8) is coming off a 71-65 loss Thursday night at USC Upstate. The Ospreys were tied at 31 at the break, but let things slip away in the second half as senior guard Brittany Kirkland led the way with 19 points. UNF scored 24 points off 18 forced turnovers, but in the end free throw shooting was the difference maker. Both teams made 24 field goals and four threes, but USC Upstate outscored the Ospreys by six at the charity stripe. The Spartans finished 19-of-25, while UNF went 13-for-21 at the line.
Kirkland leads the team in scoring (12.5), while junior guard Jadhken Kerr has registered 47 of the 112 three-pointers for the Ospreys this season. Along with Kirkland and Kerr, reigning A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year, Larkira Jones, is adding six points, seven rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game for UNF.
The Lady Bucs lead the all-time series, 10-3, and are 6-0 lifetime against the Ospreys in Johnson City. ETSU, who is winning on average of 19.2 points per game at home against UNF, suffered a heartbreaking 70-67 loss to the Ospreys last month in Jacksonville. The Lady Bucs saw the Ospreys finish the final six minutes on an 18-3 run en route to rallying back from a 15-point second half deficit. Last season, Pickwell went off for a career-high 24 points in the 74-52 win back on Feb. 12.
Fans unable to attend Saturday’s game can listen to all the action live on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster as “Voice of the Lady Bucs” John Stevens will handle the play-by-play duties. Live video will also be offered on A-Sun.TV, while live stats can be accessed via Gametracker.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.