Lady Bucs celebrate Senior Day, Think Pink, and look to remain in A-Sun title hunt Saturday
Akers
Akers

Friday, February 15, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 15, 2008) - It will be a jammed pack day for the ETSU women's basketball team Saturday afternoon as they honor four spectacular seniors, create awareness for breast cancer and look to remain tied for first in the Atlantic Sun standings when the Lady Bucs host Lipscomb. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside Memorial Center.

 

The senior class of Nichelle Akers (Sumter, S.C.), Michele DeVault (Columbus, Ohio), Jenny Norman (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Kelly Turman (Atlanta) will be playing their second-to-last home game tomorrow afternoon. These four women have made a huge impact for ETSU women's hoops since arriving on campus in the fall of '04. This class was apart of the 55-50 upset over Chattanooga in the 2005 SoCon Tournament. Then, a year later, these four athletes helped guide head coach Karen Kemp to her first-ever win over an SEC program when the Lady Bucs defeated Mississippi State, 78-53, on Nov. 20, 2005. Last season the Lady Bucs enjoyed the third highest win total in program history with their 20 victories, and went to postseason play for the second time ever. Now, in 2008, these seniors want to close out their four year career with a bang as they look to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in ETSU history.

 

The road for the Lady Bucs' goal of winning the conference championship will not be easy after suffering a 71-66 setback to Florida Gulf Coast last Monday. Prior to the game, ETSU controlled its own destiny for the regular season title and a top seed to the A-Sun Tournament in March; however, with the loss, Gulf Coast moved in with the Lady Bucs and Jacksonville, causing a three-way log jam atop the league standings. Fortunately, for ETSU, the Eagles cannot advance to postseason play (making transition to D-I play) and the Lady Bucs hold the tiebreaker over the Dolphins. Instead of creating more headaches, ETSU needs to focus on winning its five remaining regular season games and hope for things to pan out in the conference race.

 

ETSU's first task begins Saturday afternoon as they look to hand the Lady Bisons their sixth loss in the short-lived series. The Lady Bucs have controlled most of the action in the six games, except for a slight slip up last season inside Allen Arena (L, 52-57). In the six meetings, ETSU is averaging a 20-point win and forcing Lipscomb to cough the ball up 28.2 times per game.

 

Fans unable to attend the game can watch via the live video streaming accessed at ASun.TV or by clicking the link located above. 

 

Below is more information regarding Saturday's match-up:

 

About Lipscomb

Since the start of Atlantic Sun Conference play the Lady Bisons have elevated the quality of their play. Leading the way is junior forward Jilian Partin and junior post Katie Rollins. Partin has been a double threat in both points and rebounds. She is in the top 15 in scoring in A-Sun games only and is second in rebounding in conference games. Rollins leads the way with 10.1 points per game in her 24 games played. The Lady Bisons have also had improved from junior post Kaleigh Gossman and freshman guard Jenna Bartsokas.

 

As a team, Lipscomb has played a difficult non-conference schedule as they made trips to Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Classic (played Hawaii, UAB, and Kentucky), then travelled to Manhattan, KS for the Commerce Bank/Wildcat Classic and faced host and Big 12 foe Kansas State. The Lady Bisons have also played a pair of SEC programs in Arkansas and Vanderbilt as well. Lipscomb's SOS ranks second in the league, only behind the Lady Bucs.

 

After being selected sixth in the coaches poll, head coach Frank Bennett still has his club in a battle for a third seed in the conference tournament that Lipscomb will be hosting next month. Despite standing at 4-7, the Lady Bisons are only two games back from the third seed with five contests remaining.

 

The Series

ETSU have won five of the six games in the series, including a 77-55 thrashing last month inside Allen Arena. The Lady Bucs' lone loss came last season in Nashville, when Lipscomb held ETSU to 26.2 (17-65) percent shooting and walked away with a 5-point victory, 57-52. Senior Jenny Norman is averaging 20 points on 15-of-22 shooting (68.2 percent) shooting in her last two games vs. Lipscomb. She poured in a career-high 21 points (7-of-12) at Lipscomb on Jan. 19, and also tallied 19 points (8-for-10) in last season's A-Sun quarterfinals.

 

More About Monday's Loss at Florida Gulf Coast...

The Lady Bucs saw their program-record eight-game conference win streak and season-long seven game winning streak come to an end with the 71-66 loss inside Alico Arena Monday night ... ETSU also had its streak of 101 games with a three-pointer snapped (0-for-9) and shot a dismal and season-low 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from the charity stripe ... that loss and JU's loss at Belmont puts ETSU, Jacksonville and FGCU in a tie for first at 9-2 in the league.

 

Thank You Seniors!!!

Today marks the second-to-last regular season home game for four spectacular seniors. Nichelle Akers, Michele DeVault, Jenny Norman and Kelly Turman have made a huge impact in the recent success of Lady Buccaneer basketball. DeVault is the all-time three-point shooter at ETSU (202 made treys), Akers' defensive pressure gives the opposing point guard fits (was also the 2006 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year), Turman sparks the Lady Bucs off the bench with 6.9 points per game and always can be counted on to hit a clutch basket, and Norman's soft touch has lifted ETSU in its 11 conference games (averaging 10.6 points and hitting nearly 60 percent of her shots). In total, these seniors have combined to play in 418 games.

 

Think Pink Week

From Feb. 8-17, over 900 schools will participate in the WBCA's "Think Pink" Week, which is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Today marks ETSU's "Think Pink" day, which is why the Lady Buccaneers are sporting pink shoelaces and staff is wearing pink.

 

Winning Ways

Posting a 20-12 mark last season and going 18-10 the year prior, the Lady Bucs made it back-to-back winning campaigns for the first time since the end of the 2000 season. This year ETSU is looking for its third consecutive winning season for the first time since the end of the 1983-84 campaign. In order to accomplish the feat, the Lady Bucs will have to at least go 2-3 in their final five regular season games and win one game in the A-Sun Tournament.  

 

A Look Ahead

ETSU closes out its 2007-08 home schedule when Belmont visits Memorial Center Monday night. Tip between the Lady Bucs and Bruins is set for 7 p.m.

 

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

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