Lady Bucs end season with disappointing 91-63 loss to Western Carolina in the WNIT
Thursday, March 15, 2007

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (March 15, 2007) - The ETSU women's basketball team could not overcome Western Carolina's 54-point first half performance, as the Lady Bucs saw their season come to an end with a 91-63 loss in the first round of the WNIT Thursday night inside the Ramsey Center.


The Lady Bucs finished their season 20-12, making it only the third time ETSU has reached the mark in school history and the second most in head coach Karen Kemp's 13-year tenure. ETSU's postseason appearance was also its second in school history, both coming with Kemp on the sidelines. Western Carolina improved to 24-9 overall, and will travel to Virginia Tech Saturday evening to play in the second round of the postseason tournament.


Three Lady Buc players scored double figures with senior Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) leading the pack with 18 points. Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) recorded her second career double-double with a 16-point, 11-rebound effort, while Thompson chipped in 11. Western Carolina's Monique Dawson was one of four Lady Catamount players to reach double figures as she finished with 18 points.


The Lady Bucs could not get anything going offensively in the first half as they missed 13 of their first 16 shots and trailed 21-7 at the 11:57 mark. Things were close early on as ETSU tied the game at seven, but the Lady Bucs had trouble holding onto the ball as Western Carolina scored the next 13 points, giving them the 13-point advantage. Devin Thompson's (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) free throw ended the run and a five minute scoring drought for ETSU, and Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) converted an old-fashion three-point play to get the Lady Bucs within 11, 24-13 at the 10:27 mark. However, that would be as close as ETSU would get, because the Lady Catamounts opened the game wide open with 12 unanswered points, pushing their lead to 23, 36-13. The Lady Bucs had no answer for Western as they rattled off 11 straight points, which extended its lead to the largest of the half at 47-22 with 4:30 remaining before the break.


ETSU was held to only eight field goals and a 21.1 shooting percentage in the first 20 minutes, compared to 21 field goals made and a 61.8 shooting percentage by the Lady Catamounts. The only highlight for the Lady Bucs in the first half happened at the free throw line when they hit 13 straight freebies from the 11:55 mark to the 2:28 mark. ETSU hit 14 of their 19 free throw attempts, while Western hit 7-of-11 at the charity stripe.


Western Carolina kept its lead above 20 for the first six minutes of the second half, until baskets by Thompson and Wilhoit lowered the Lady Catamount lead to 17, 61-44 with 13:37 remaining. The Lady Bucs could not inch any closer, because Western would score 10 of the next 14 points to push its lead back over the 20-point margin. ETSU would cut the Western Carolina lead back down to 17 one final time when Wilhoit drained a three with 5:22 left, but the Lady Catamounts were too much to handle on Thursday night as they closed the game on a 15-4 run to earn the victory.


It was not the Lady Bucs night as they finished the game shooting 25.4 percent (17-67), while Western ended 47.3 percent (35-74) from the floor. The 91 points allowed by ETSU were the most points an opponent scored on them since giving up 96 in its season-opener to #2 North Carolina, and it also marked a season-high for the Lady Catamounts. The Lady Bucs hit all 12 of their free throw attempts in the second half, and finished 83.9 percent (26-31) from the line.