NASHVILLE (Feb. 17, 2012) – Coming off its best defensive effort of the season, the ETSU women’s basketball team looks to cap off the Music City sweep when the Lady Bucs travel to Belmont on Saturday evening. Tip is set for 6 p.m. (ET) inside the Curb Event Center.
The Lady Bucs recorded a season-high 16 steals and scored 21 points off 26 Lipscomb turnovers en route to defeating the Lady Bison, 59-39, Thursday night inside Allen Arena. ETSU – who defeated the Lady Bison for the 12th consecutive time – also snapped its three-game losing streak to improve to 7-19, 6-9 in A-Sun play. The 39 points allowed by the Lady Bucs marked the lowest point total allowed since giving up the same total against North Florida back on Jan. 28, 2008. Furthermore, the win also moved the Lady Bucs one step closer to clinching a spot in the Atlantic Sun Tournament as either one more ETSU win or one more Lipscomb loss will secure the Blue and Gold into one of two remaining slots for the championship.
Senior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) came off the bench to add 10 of the 36 bench points, while also moving closer to becoming the 20th player in Lady Buccaneer history to reach the 1,000-point club. Washington is only 14 points shy of reaching the prestigious group as well as marking the fifth straight season a Lady Buccaneer player has eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau. Along with Washington, freshmen Brianna Bogard (Georgetown, Texas) and Cara Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) also gave the Blue and Gold a lift on Thursday night. Bogard finished with seven points, three assists, and four steals in 28 minutes of work, while Bowling added seven points, a career-high 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals off the bench.
As the Lady Bucs were making easy work of Lipscomb on Thursday, Belmont (10-16, 9-6) had a little more of difficult time earning the win against USC Upstate. The Bruins – who were tied at 37 at the half – outscored the Spartans by five in the second half to pick up the 74-69 victory inside the Curb Event Center. Belmont won the game at the free throw line as they outscored the Spartans by nine points at the charity stripe. The Bruins went 21-of-35 at the line, compared to Upstate’s 12-of-15 showing. Senior Haley Nelson led three players in double figures with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Amara Mayers added 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting off the bench.
Nelson – who is making a run at A-Sun Player of the Year honors – is averaging 14.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks, while also shooting 52.5 percent in 26 games for the Bruins. Meanwhile, sophomore Molly Ernst is posting 7.8 points and has registered 48 of Belmont’s 122 made threes on the season. As a team, Belmont is holding its opponents to a 33.7 shooting percentage and 56.6 points per game in 15 conference games.
ETSU leads the all-time series, 12-6, but the Lady Bucs had won nine consecutive games over Belmont until suffering an 88-75 setback to the Bruins last month in Johnson City. The Lady Bucs have won the last four meetings inside the Curb Event Center, including a thrilling double overtime 90-86 victory last season. Sophomore Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) is averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, while shooting 64.7 percent (11-17) in two career games against Belmont (both in Johnson City). Last year in the double overtime victory, Washington posted a double-double as she finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) added 18 points and nine boards in 42 minutes of play. As a team, the Lady Bucs went 29-of-33 from the free throw line and out-rebounded Belmont, 57 to 35.
Saturday marks the last A-Sun regular season meeting between ETSU and Belmont as the Bruins are leaving the A-Sun for the Ohio Valley Conference in 2012-13.
Fans unable to make the trip to Nashville 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 on ASun.TV, while live stats can be accessed through BelmontBruins.com.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer hoops, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.