Lady Bucs use clutch free throw shooting to rally past Lipscomb, 66-52
Lady Bucs use clutch free throw shooting to rally past Lipscomb, 66-52
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pickwell paces ETSU with 20 as Lady Bucs win ninth straight inside Allen Arena

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2011) - With the Lady Bucs struggling to find offense for the majority of the game, ETSU turned to the one place they excel at - the free throw line.

The Blue and Gold went 30-of-36 from the free throw line and for the second straight game the Lady Bucs rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit, as ETSU continued its Nashville success with a 66-52 win over Lipscomb Saturday evening inside Allen Arena.

Despite shooting less than 30 percent (29.8) for the game, the Lady Bucs stepped up at the free throw line as Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.), red-shirt senior post Latisha Belcher (Martinsville, Va.) and junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) went a combined 18-of-18 at the charity stripe. Pickwell paced the Blue and Gold with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds and Belcher - who was fresh off her A-Sun Player of the Week honor - finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds marking her third straight double-double. Despite having to play with the number 23 jersey for the first time in her career, senior guard Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) registered 17 points, four rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes of action.

With the win, the Lady Bucs not only moved closer to securing the number one seed in next month's General Shale Brick A-Sun Conference Tournament, but ETSU also won for the ninth straight time inside Allen Arena to improve to 17-10, 14-4 in conference play. Meanwhile, Lipscomb lost for the tenth time in eleven tries and dipped to 8-18, 5-12. 

"I was disappointed with the way we played most of the game, because we didn't come out with any intensity and were flat until the last seven or eight minutes of the second half," commented head coach Karen Kemp, who improved to 13-1 lifetime against Lipscomb. "This is not the time to be playing in spurts. We really need to put together a 40 minute game soon or we won't be playing for another conference championship. I don't want to take anything away from Lipscomb, because they took us out of a lot of our sets. They were being very aggressive, but fortunately for us, we were able to get the lane, draw some fouls and make our free throws."    

For the second straight outing the Lady Bucs came out flat and showed no rhythm on offense, as the Lady Bucs missed five of their first six shots, while turning the ball over six times in the opening six-plus minutes. However, with Lipscomb leading 10-4, ETSU finally picked up the pace by mounting an 11-2 run to take a 15-12 lead after Davis laid one home with less than ten minutes left in the half. From there, neither team established any momentum as there were three ties and four lead changes in the final nine minutes, twenty-eight seconds and the Lady Bucs went into the break tied at 23 after Pickwell scored the final points with a jumper at the 1:22 mark.

Both squads struggled in the first half as the Lady Bucs shot 28 percent (10-36) and turned the ball over 12 times, while Lipscomb shot 31 percent (8-26) and recorded 13 turnovers. The Lady Bucs and Lipscomb each scored seven points off the miscues, and combined to go 1-for-16 from beyond the arc. ETSU was 0-of-4 and Lipscomb went 1-for-12, with Jenna Bartsokas hitting the only three of the half. Davis led all players in scoring as she had nine of ETSU's 23 points.

Once again - like the start of the first half - the Lady Bucs showed a lack of motivation and Lipscomb capitalized by scoring the first seven points to take a 30-23 lead, forcing coach Kemp to burn a 30-second timeout after Hannah Phillips connected on a jumper with 16:32 left to play. Pickwell finally scored ETSU's first points of the half with a jumper at the 15:52 mark, but Phillips responded for Lipscomb, making it 32-25 with 15:26 left in the contest.

Then, with the Lady Bisons up seven at the 13:36 mark, the Blue and Gold went on a 13-4 run over the next four minutes, thirty-two seconds to regain their first lead since late in the first half when Washington's two free throws put ETSU up, 42-40, with just over nine minutes remaining.

Lipscomb gained a 45-42 advantage after Valerie Bronson netted a three at the top of the arc with 7:06 left, but that would be the last time the Lady Bisons led. Over the next four-plus minutes, ETSU scored 11 of the next 14 points to regain a 53-48 lead with less than three minutes showing on the clock. The Lady Bisons pulled to within three, but the Lady Bucs made 11 of their last 12 free throw attempts down the stretch to secure the 14-point road win.

ETSU out-rebounded Lipscomb by 12, 52 to 40, as Tosha Austin (Chattanooga, Tenn.) contributed with 11 rebounds and two steals. The Lady Buccaneer defense held the Lady Bisons to a 28.4 shooting percentage (19-67) and a 4-of-31 showing from beyond the arc.

The Lady Bisons three players score in double figures with Bartsokas netting a team-high 12 points.   

The Lady Bucs return to action Monday night when ETSU travels to Belmont. Tip is set for 8 p.m. (EST) inside the Curb Event Center.

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