Lady Bucs down Mercer in regular season finale, 81-59
Sunday, March 4, 2007

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 4, 2007) - The Lady Bucs have now won seven straight home games for the first time since the 1998-99 season as they closed out their regular season in good fashion, downing Mercer 81-59 Sunday afternoon in Memorial Center.


            With the win, ETSU improved to 18-10, 14-4 in the A-Sun, tying the most conference wins in Lady Buccaneer history, while Mercer fell to 5-24, 4-14 to close out the 2006-07 regular season. Seniors Holly Moring (Irmo, S.C.) and Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) were the only ETSU players to reach double figures as they played their final collegiate game inside Memorial Center. Wilhoit netted a team-high 18 points and Moring ended with 10, going 4-of-4 from the free throw line.


            The seniors got the Lady Bucs going right off the bat as Wilhoit blocked Mercer's first field goal attempt, and then found junior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) wide open for three for the first points of the afternoon. On ETSU's next trip down the floor Moring found Wilhoit open beyond the arc, giving the Lady Bucs an early 6-0 lead with only fifty-four ticks coming off the clock. ETSU continued to keep on scoring as they hit six of its first seven shots, extending its lead to 15-4 with only three and a half minutes gone by. Mercer trimmed the ETSU lead to five, 26-21, when Megan Lewis drove in for a lay-up at the 8:09 mark, but the Lady Bucs defense kicked things into a higher gear as they held the Bears without a field goal in the final 5:31 of the half to take a 38-27 lead into the break.


            The Lady Bucs shot 50.0 percent (14-28) from the floor during the first 20 minutes, while their defense held Mercer to hit only 34.8 percent of its shots (8-23). Both teams had no problems creating open shots as ETSU had 11 first half assists and the Bears assisted on seven of their eight field goals made. ETSU dominated the Bears down low as they outscored them 18-6 in the paint. Chelsea Seabron scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half for Mercer, while Kelly Turman (Atlanta) led ETSU with seven.


            Mercer opened the second half scoring eight unanswered points and cut its 11-point halftime deficit to three, 38-35, with 16:10 remaining in the contest. The Lady Bucs quickly countered with a 17-2 run during the next six minutes, putting them up 18. The run pretty much put Mercer to sleep as ETSU slowly added to its lead as Wilhoit extended the Lady Bucs lead to 26, 68-42, when she nailed back-to-back threes. A Devin Thompson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) jumper at the 2:36 mark gave ETSU its largest lead of the game, 81-50. Mercer closed out the final two minutes on a 9-0 run, but the game was all ready wrapped up for the Lady Bucs.


            ETSU forced a season-high 32 turnovers, which turned into 31 points on the offensive end and finished 47.3 percent (26-55) from the floor. Mercer shot 54.5 percent (12-22) in the second half, but its poor first half and sloppy ball handling cost them any chance to pull off a victory. Wilhoit grabbed six rebounds and finished with five assists to go along with her 18 points. Her five assists moved her into a tie with Angie Fickes (1997-2000) for second-place all-time in ETSU history. Every ETSU player saw action in the regular season finale and Latisha Belcher (Ridgeway, Va.), Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and Turman all came off the bench and each scored nine points. Belcher and Evans both finished with seven rebounds, and Belcher tied her career high with four steals. 


            The Lady Bucs will look to win the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as they prepare for 2007 Atlantic Sun Tournament which starts Thursday afternoon in Dothan, Ala. For the second straight year ETSU will be the third seed in the tournament, and draws six-seed Lipscomb in the first round. Tip is set for 7 p.m. EST inside the Dothan Civic Center on Mar. 8. The Lady Bucs and Lady Bisons split the season series, while ETSU leads the all-time series, 3-1.