Belmont topples Lady Bucs, 70-50

Saturday, February 18, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2006) - The Lady Bucs couldn't complete the season sweep over Belmont, Saturday afternoon, as the Bruins topped ETSU, 70-50, in Curb Event Center.  Belmont improves to 14-2 in the Atlantic Sun and stays one game ahead of the second-place team while ETSU fall to 11-5, after posting its lowest scoring output of the season.

The Bruins jumped out to an early five point lead in the first stanza courtesy of freshmen Jessica Bobbitt and Alysha Clark.  Belmont continued to maintain control of the match-up and built up a 10-point lead by the 11:38 mark, 18-8.  East Tennessee State cut that lead to five behind trips to the free-throw line by B.J. Banjo (Baltimore, Md.) and Candace Gibson (Warner Robins, Ga.).  At the nine minute mark, senior Tonisha Jones, with assists coming  Jenny Conkle, dropped in back-to-back triples to keep the Bruins ahead.  The Lady Bucs would creep to within seven less than three minutes later but that would be their last chance in the half that they would be down by less than 10 points.  BU continued to pile on the points, growing its lead to as many as 18 before ETSU's Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio) hit her only three of game with 38 seconds on the clock, bringing the score to 38-23 before the teams headed into the locker room.

The Lady Bucs came out in the second half determined to make a dent in Belmont's 15-point lead.  Just under 16 minutes, ETSU's work paid off as it closed within eight points behind a strong effort by Gibson.  Sophomore Brooke Sunday was sent to the charity stripe where she hit both to rebuild the Bruins' double-digit lead, 42-32.  A three pointer by Banjo nine second later was not enough to spark ETSU.  Frustration set in as shots rimmed in and out of the goal and soon the Lady Bucs were down by 20 with 9:38 on the clock after sophomore Brittany Myers and Bockey drained back-to-back treys.  A brief rally moved ETSU to within 14 but that would be as close as they would come as Belmont closed out the contest on a 10-4 run and take the game, 70-50.

Gibson and Banjo were the Lady Bucs' leading scorers, each adding 11 points.  Gibson also led the team in rebounding with a total of 13.  

ETSU shot 27.3 percent from the floor, 68 percent from the free-throw line and a dismal 17.6 percent from behind the three-point arc.  The Lady Bucs came away with eight steals and had no blocks.

Clark led the Bruins in scoring for the 15th time with 16 points.  Sunday and Tonisha Jones also finished in double digits, adding 14 and 13 points, respectively.  Clark fell one rebound short of her 14th double-double of the season with a team-high nine boards. 

The Lady Bucs will play in Memorial Center for the final time this season next weekend, as they host Mercer on Feb. 23, and Stetson on Feb. 25.

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