Evans leads Lady Bucs to exhibition win over Cumberlands, 82-67
Monday, November 3, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 3, 2008) - Junior Siarre Evans (Griffin, Ga.) was one of four Lady Buccaneer players to score in double figures as she poured in a game-high 24 points, and the ETSU women's basketball team used a strong second half to defeat the University of the Cumberlands, 82-67, in an exhibition contest Monday night inside Memorial Center.   


Joining Evans in double figures were fellow juniors TaRonda Wiles (Danville, Va.) and Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) and sophomore point guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Belcher posted a double-double, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and dished out a team-best four assists. Wiles ended with 14, while Davis chipped in with 13 points and forced eight of the 18 Lady Buccaneer steals.


"I wasn't expecting to play Siarre 32 minutes, but we needed her competiveness and leadership out on the floor," commented head coach Karen Kemp. "She doesn't like to lose and you saw that in her tonight, as she helped carry this team to victory."


A strong second half is exactly what ETSU used after being dealt a scare in the first 20 minutes of action. The final half saw the Lady Buccaneers pour in 46 points, force 19 turnovers (resulting in 23 points), and out-rebound the Patriots by four, 23-19, including 10 on the offensive end.


After trailing by three to start the second half, the Lady Bucs stormed out the gates by rattling off 10 of the first 12 points to gain a 46-41 lead, forcing Cumberlands to call a timeout with 17:20 left in the contest. Eventually ETSU saw its advantage balloon to 11, 54-43, as the Lady Buccaneers mounted an 18-4 run to open the first eight minutes of the second half. The Patriots got to within seven, 54-47, but a deep bomb by Evans propelled the Lady Buccaneers back into double digits, 61-47, which ETSU used to gain the momentum they were desperately seeking in the first half.


Ferocious defense by the Lady Bucs continued to cause havoc for the Patriots and ETSU used another run to push its lead to 22, 69-47, when Evans connected on a fast break lay-up with eight and half minutes to play. The Patriots would put up one last fight, cutting the deficit to 12, 71-59, but the Lady Bucs' speed and defense proved to be too much for the visitors and ETSU escaped with the victory.   


"I felt like in the second half we stepped the defense up, and I was really pleased with our press since we really haven't spent much time working on it in practice," said Kemp. "Exhibition games are exhibition games for a reason, and now we know what we need to work on before we head to Evansville."


For the game ETSU shot 40.3 percent from the floor (26-67), compared to the Patriots' 43.4 clip (23-53). The Lady Buccaneers forced 31 turnovers and turned the miscues into 34 points, and 18 of ETSU's 40 rebounds came on the offensive end - resulting in 16 second chance points. Free throw shooting was critical for the home team tonight, as ETSU shot 24-of-30 (80 percent) from the charity stripe, where as, Cumberland was 10-for-12 (83.3 percent).


In the first half, Cumberlands jumped out to an early 5-0 start, but ETSU used a quick 13-5 spurt to grab a 13-10 lead, after Devin Thompson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) laid one in at the 15:18 mark. However, the Lady Bucs could never break away from Cumberlands due to the hot three-point shooting by Madison Flowers and Stephanie Quattrociochhi. The duo combined to hit five of their first six attempts and the Patriots only trailed, 27-24, with less than seven minutes remaining in the half. The threes continued to rain for Flowers and company, as her fourth trey of the half tied the game at 31, with 3:27 left before intermission. ETSU's sloppy play continued and the Patriots capitalized as they took a 39-36 lead into the locker room.


After hitting seven three pointers in its season opener Friday night at Trevecca Nazarene, Cumberlands drained eight in the first 20 minutes, while limiting the Lady Buccaneers to a mere 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. ETSU was also dominated on the glass as they were out-rebounded, 19-18, but free throw shooting and forcing turnovers kept the Lady Buccaneers in the contest. ETSU was 10-for-12 from the line (Cumberlands 5-of-5), and the Lady Bucs forced the Patriots into 12 turnovers - which were converted into 11 points on the offensive end. Flowers led all scorers at the break as she netted 18 points, while Evans chipped in with 11 for ETSU.


Despite only being held to three second half points, Flowers led the Cumberlands with 21 (6-of-11 from beyond the arc), and Lauren Wombles added 20 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort.


The Lady Bucs return to action on Saturday, Nov. 15 when they face 2008 Missouri Valley Conference co-regular season champions, Evansville, in their season-opener. Tip is set for 4 p.m. inside Roberts Stadium.