Evans posts third straight double-double, but ETSU's upset bid falls short at Wake Forest, 72-66
Sunday, December 28, 2008

WINTSON-SALEM, N.C. (Dec. 28, 2008) - Junior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) posted her third straight double-double, but the ETSU women's basketball team could not overcome a 15-0 Wake Forest run in the first half and the Demon Deacons defeated the Lady Bucs, 72-66, Sunday afternoon inside the Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum.


Evans led the way with a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Bucs, while fellow junior Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) was one rebound short of tallying her second straight double-double. Belcher ended with 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals in 31 minutes.


The loss snapped ETSU's two-game winning streak and the Lady Bucs' record dropped to 3-6. Wake Forest - who is receiving votes in both national polls and has an RPI in the top 25 - is off to its best start in program history by moving its record to a perfect 11-0.


"We are going to take a lot away from this game," commented head coach Karen Kemp. "We need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, and too many turnovers in the first 10 minutes proved to be the difference maker. I am very proud of the way we battled after getting down by as many as 15 points and hopefully we can bounce back against Jacksonville on Saturday."


Despite getting off to a sluggish start to open the contest, the Lady Buccaneers did an excellent job holding their own in the final 10 minutes of the first half.


ETSU had trouble holding onto the ball in the opening four minutes of the game, as the Lady Bucs coughed the ball up five times - resulting in six points for Wake Forest - and the Demon Deacons led, 12-7, at the first media timeout (15:49). Then, following Latisha Belcher's (Martinsville, Va.) lay-up at the 17:15 mark, Wake Forest held the Lady Bucs scoreless for the next seven minutes and the Demon Deacons extended their lead to 15, 22-7, with 10:19 remaining in the half. However, ETSU did a tremendous job staying in the game by lowering the 15-point deficit to seven, 36-29, when Evans drove the lane for an easy bucket and the Lady Bucs went into the break down, 38-29.


The Lady Bucs shot 35.3 percent (12-34) from the floor in the opening half, compared to Wake Forest's 36.6 shooting clip (15-41). Despite being outsized, ETSU held a slight advantage on the boards - 25 to 24 - but 15 Lady Buccaneer turnovers was the difference maker. The Demon Deacons scored 15 points on the miscues and outscored ETSU in the paint, 20-12. Brittany Waters led all scorers with 13, while Evans led the Lady Bucs with 10.    


ETSU started the second half on fire thanks to Evans taking over and cutting the margin to three, 40-37, with less than four minutes coming off the clock. The Griffin, Ga. native fueled the 8-2 run, by scoring six of the eight Lady Buccaneer points. Unfortunately, things cooled off quick for the visitors and Wake Forest pushed its lead back to 12, 49-37, by using a 9-0 run of its own.


Once again, like in the first half, the Lady Bucs did not fold. Belcher exploded by scoring nine straight points for ETSU and chipped the deficit down to six, 52-46, after the power post player laid one in at the 12:16 mark. From there, ETSU would get to within five on five separate possessions, and eventually lowered it to two, 63-61, when Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) converted on one of her two free throw attempts with 5:32 on the clock.


With two minutes remaining freshman post Gwen Washington's (Manassas, Va.) lay-up made it a 67-66 contest, and after Waters missed both free throws the Lady Bucs had a shot to take the lead. However, missed shots down the stretch cost ETSU the opportunity to knock off its second BCS opponent in the month of December as the Demon Deacons survived the Lady Bucs' scare, 72-66.


For the game ETSU shot 36.9 percent (24-65) and posted its second straight 50-plus rebound game (51 rebounds). The Lady Bucs also did a solid job scoring off their turnovers forced by converting 24 points on 18 forced turnovers. Unfortunately, 27 turnovers and one 15-0 first half run was the story of the game. Wake Forest shot 39 percent (24-65) and finished with 43 rebounds.


Waters led the way with 19 points and Corinne Groves added 17 for Wake Forest. 


The Lady Bucs finally return home to Johnson City on Saturday, Jan. 3, when ETSU hosts Jacksonville. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. inside Memorial Center.


For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.