Well-balanced Lady Buccaneer attack blasts Mercer, 88-57
Monday, February 4, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 4, 2008) - The ETSU women's basketball team used a well-balanced attack Monday night as all 13 Lady Buccaneer players reached the scoring column en route to a 31-point victory over Mercer, 88-57, inside Memorial Center.


The victory marks the Lady Bucs' sixth straight win, matching their longest winning streak since going on the same run a year ago (Feb. 17 through March 9). ETSU moved to 12-10, 8-1 in A-Sun play; while Mercer has now lost 13 of its last 14 and fell to 4-18, 1-8. The Lady Bucs remain tied for first with Jacksonville, after the Dolphins defeated Campbell tonight.


Senior Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) scored a game-high 15 points as she led five Lady Buc players in double figures. With her 15-point effort, DeVault passed Kim Skala for 12th all-time on the ETSU scoring list (she now has 1,093 for her career). Sophomore Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) and freshman Brittany Daniels (Shellman, Ga.) each added 11. Evans grabbed a game-high eight boards, and Daniels set a new career-high in points. Rounding out the attack was senior guard Kelly Turman (Atlanta) and sophomore post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.). Both players netted 10.


"I was very happy as everyone contributed to this win tonight," mentioned head coach Karen Kemp, who saw her team force 28 turnovers and win its seventh straight conference game. "We wanted to come out and focus on improving our full court press and trap defense, and I thought we really executed it well."


It did not take the Lady Bucs long to implement the press, because after Belcher opened with a lay-up 17 seconds into the contest; she quickly forced a steal, which in return led to Evans connecting on yet another easy bucket.  From there, the Lady Bucs' defense continued to wreak havoc on the Bears; forcing Mercer to cough the ball up eight times in the first eight minutes of the contest. The Lady Bucs scored six points off those mishaps and cruised to a 26-7 advantage when freshman Kami Phillips (Augusta, Ga.) nailed a jumper at the 10:34 mark. Mercer would claw to within 11 on two separate occasions, but that is as close as the Bears would get. ETSU went into the break with a 13-point lead, 40-27.


ETSU shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field in the first 20 minutes, while Mercer was held to a 37 percent clip (10-27). The Lady Bucs did a great job on the boards by out-rebounding the Bears, 21-13, and limiting the visitors to only two offensive rebounds. Mercer turned the ball over 12 times and the Lady Buccaneers used that to score 10 points off those miscues. DeVault led all players with 10 points and both LaToya Jackson and Cristin Seymour chipped in with seven for Mercer.


In the second half, ETSU scored the first six points and extended its lead to 19, 46-27, with 17:30 remaining in the game. Mercer really never had an answer for the Lady Bucs' run as ETSU saw its advantage balloon to 28, 71-43, when Daniels went in for a lay-up at the 7:49 mark. Freshman point guard Sabrina Treakle's (Richmond, Va.) three with a little over five minutes remaining, put all the Lady Buccaneer players in the scoring column. Then, ETSU took its largest lead of the night, 88-52, on Jenny Norman's (Peachtree City, Ga.) lay-in with two minutes left in the contest.


For the second straight contest, the Lady Bucs shot over 50-percent from the field. ETSU posted a clip of 50.7 (34-67), and Mercer hit 40.4 percent (19-47). The Lady Buccaneers scored 31 points off the 28 turnovers they forced, and out-rebounded Mercer by 13, 40-27. Ten of the 13 ETSU players also notched an assist tonight, as sophomore TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) led the way for the second consecutive contest with three. In addition, all 13 players also grabbed at least one rebound.


Both teams shot the ball well from beyond the arc, combining to go 16-for-31 (51.6 percent); while the Lady Buccaneers tied their season-high with nine. In total, 21 of 22 players scored in the game and all five of ETSU's starters reached the column with only five minutes gone by in the first half. The Lady Buc bench scored 45 of the 88 points on the night.


Mercer was led by Jackson's 15-point effort.


The Lady Bucs will now head back down to Florida for the second time in less than two weeks. ETSU kicks off the two-game Sunshine State swing with a match-up versus Stetson. Tip is set for Saturday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. inside the Edmunds Center.