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BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Jan. 13, 2007) - The Lady Bucs built a 23-point first half lead Saturday afternoon, and never looked back as they handed Gardner-Webb its first home loss of the season, 81-68. ETSU has now won four straight A-Sun road games, and move to 9-7, 5-1, while the Runnin' Bulldogs drop to 5-11, 2-3.
In the first half, ETSU jumped out to an early 13-6 advantage thanks to strong pressure defense, which led to easy fast-break lay-ups. Eight of the first 16 points scored by ETSU came via the lay-up. A deep bomb by Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville) pushed the Lady Bucs lead to 21-9 at the 12:40 mark.
ETSU would continue to dominate as they posted a 19-9 run and went up 40-18 with 3:28 to go before half. Holly Moring (Irmo, S.C.) pushed the Lady Bucs lead to 23, when she drained a three-pointer, giving them their largest lead of the half, 43-20.
Despite letting Gardner-Webb close out the half on a 9-2 run, ETSU still took a 16-point lead into the break. The Lady Bucs limited the Runnin' Bulldogs to only seven field goals on 30.4 percent shooting in the first half, compared to a blazing 54.8 shooting percentage (17-31) by ETSU.
Solid defense by ETSU caused Gardner-Webb to turn the ball over 11 times, which led to seven first half steals by the Lady Bucs. The deep ETSU bench proved to make a difference as they outscored the Runnin' Bulldogs, 16-0. Every Lady Buc player who played in the first half found the scoring column.
ETSU started the second half scoring the first five points and pushed its lead to 50-29, thanks to a Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) three-pointer. After missing the first half, Gardner-Webb's leading scorer Candyse Kelly made her presence felt by connecting on consecutive threes, cutting the Lady Bucs deficit to 54-37.
The ETSU lead would stay at or near the 17-point mark, until a Meranda Burnett three-pointer cut the lead to 58-46 with 12:11 remaining. However, the Lady Bucs answered with a 20-4 run, which ended up putting the Runnin' Bulldogs out of the game. Gardner-Webb did pose one late threat as they got to within 10, 78-68, but the game was all ready in check for ETSU.
The Lady Bucs had four players reach double figures, with Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) leading the way with 16 points. Norman has accomplished the feat in eight of her last 11 games, and ETSU has gone 8-3 in those games. Freshman Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) posted her fourth career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) scored a season- high 14 points, two off her career high. DeVault rounded out the Lady Bucs scoring by finishing with 11.
Kelly came off the bench in the second half and scored a team-high 16 points for Gardner-Webb. For the sixth straight game, ETSU has won the rebounding margin as they led the way today, 41-23. The Lady Bucs forced the Runnin' Bulldogs to turn the ball over 21 total times during the game, which led to 14 ETSU steals. Akers led the way with seven.
The Lady Bucs will return to action Thursday night when they host North Florida at 7 p.m. inside Memorial Center.