Lady Bucs wake up in second half, top Mercer, 62-47
Sophomore Nichelle Akers grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in Thursday's win.
Sophomore Nichelle Akers grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in Thursday's win.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (February 23, 2006) - Despite scoring a season-low 20 points in the first period of play, the Lady Bucs rebounded with 42 second-half points to down Mercer, 62-47, Thursday in Memorial Center.  Senior B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) paced ETSU with a game-high 21 points, 19 of which came in the second frame.  ETSU jumps to 16-8, 12-5 in the Atlantic Sun in the win, while Mercer drops to 11-13, 8-9 in conference.


After jumping out to a 13-5 lead by the 14:05 mark of the first half, the Lady Bucs hit a tremendous dry spell, netting only one basket in the next 11 minutes and allowing Mercer to gain the 17-15 advantage with 3:27 to go. 


ETSU finally got a much needed bucket when Brooke Wilhoit (Sevierville, Tenn.) drained a three pointer with 3:03 remaining, putting the Lady Bucs back on top, 18-17.  The teams traded baskets before Sarah Russell gave the Bears to the 21-20 lead going into the locker room. 


The first half was ugly all-around, with both teams shooting under 32 percent from the field.  The Bears were ice cold from three-point land, posting just 14.3 percent, on 1-for-7 shooting, while the Lady Bucs failed to take advantage at the charity stripe, missing all six of their attempts.  The Bears committed 14 first-half turnovers to the Lady Bucs' 10.           


The Lady Bucs were markedly improved the second frame, upping their shooting percentage to 57.7 from the field and 50.0 from three for the second half, to finish at 42.9 for the game. Mercer continued to struggle, tallying just 33.9 on the day, and 14.3 from behind the arc. 


ETSU rolled to a seven-point lead with just over four minutes gone by in the second, and surged to an 11-point advantage by the 9:27 mark, when Kelly Turman (Atlanta, Ga.) put her team ahead, 40-29.  Turman was one of four Lady Bucs in double figures on the day, netting 14 points.


The Lady Bucs would extend the lead to 13 with 5:38 to play, on a steal and breakaway layup by Banjo, which gave ETSU the 50-37 advantage.  


The Bears would claw back however, with a Russell three pointer cutting the lead to five, at 52-47, with just 2:52 remaining.  ETSU responded, ending the game on a 8-0 run.


Wilhoit added 10 points and matched her career best with nine boards, while Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) came up with 10 points, seven rebounds and career-high four blocks.  The Lady Bucs tallied seven blocks in all, with Turman, Banjo, and Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.) stopping one apiece. Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.) led ETSU on the boards, corralling a career-high 10.


Russell paced the Bears with 13 points, followed by Erin Keller and Rhonda Owens with seven each.  Tanya Kessenich was tough on the inside, grabbing 10 rebounds, to go along with four blocks.


The Lady Bucs will be at home in Memorial Center for the final time this season on Saturday, taking the floor against Stetson at 2 p.m.  Senior Day festivities will take place prior to tip off.

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